<i>Al-Akhbar</i>: US gives Israel green light for large-scale Gaza op

The US has given Israel the green light for a large-scale Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar claimed Saturday. The paper quoted unnamed diplomats who said Washington had authorized the move after Defense Minister Ehud Barak presented US officials with documents attesting to the increased arming of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives in the Strip. The paper further stated that Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had met several times recently to discuss the prospect of an operation and make a final decision on the issue. It claimed that Israel's hesitancy was due to fears that such an action would hurt negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.