Germany has agreed to sell Israel two destroyers in exchange for one billion euros, AFP reported on Saturday, citing a report in German daily Bild.


According to the report, the torpedo-laden destroyers are intended to provide protection for Israel's natural gas installations.


Bild reported that the head of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's National Security Council, Yossi Cohen, visited Berlin last week.


A German government spokeswoman confirmed Cohen's visit, but declined to comment on the nature of his business in Berlin, according to AFP.


Israeli Navy captain Ilan Lavi said in April that the new offshore gas resource offers Israel's enemies an obvious target that would require extra spending to protect.


"We have to build an entire new defensive envelope," said Lavi, head of the navy's planning department.


A senior naval commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that simply to patrol the area Israel needed four new ships and that it had already been in touch with eight or nine foreign firms.


The discovery of large natural gas deposits in its offshore economic zone in 2009 came as a welcome surprise to Israel, transforming the energy security outlook of a country that used to rely heavily on imports. A burst of exploration followed, and by the end of 2013 18 new wells are expected to be drilled at a cost of $1.8 billion.


Israel estimates there are about 950 billion cubic meters of gas beneath its waters, enough to leave plenty for exports. A successful attack could threaten export revenues and harm domestic energy supply.


Reuters contributed to this report.

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