US to sell 72 fighters to Saudis

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The Bush administration has indicated to some US Jewish leaders that it will proceed with a dollars 5bn (pounds 2.5bn) sale of 72 F-15 aircraft to Saudi Arabia. A White House official said the F-15 sale was under consideration, but that a decision had not yet been reached. He said he did not know when a decision would be made.

Defence officials said they had no indication that the White House was about to notify Congress of the proposed sale. If approved by Congress, the deal could be worth dollars 5bn for the aircraft manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas, and other US firms. Israel and the powerful American Jewish community have vigorously opposed the deal.