Azerbaijan has granted Israel access to airbases in its territory along Iran's northern border for potential use in a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, a report published Wednesday in Foreign Policy magazine quoted senior US administration officials as saying.

"The Israelis have bought an airfield," an official said, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

Even if Israel doesn't use the fields for a direct airstrike on Iran, Azerbaijan could still prove useful for Jerusalem's interests in the region. The bases could be used as a jumping point for IDF search-and-rescue units, the report quoted a US intelligence official as saying.

According to the Foreign Policy report, the Obama administration believes the Jerusalem-Baku relationship is raising the risk of an Israeli strike on Iran. Senior US officials have said that Israel's military expansion into Azerbaijan is complicating US efforts to defuse Israeli-Iranian tensions. "We're watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we're not happy about it," one official said.

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