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Hagel says Israel and US see the 'exactly same' threat from a nuclear-armed Iran

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, escorts United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon into the Pentagon as Ban Ki-moon arrives for an honor cordon, Thursday, April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (The Associated Press)

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is using his first visit to Israel as Pentagon chief to underscore his view that Israel must decide for itself whether and when to use military force against Iran.

Hagel arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday. It is the first stop on a five-country Mideast tour.

Hagel told reporters on his flight from Washington that Israel has every right to defend itself, and that Israel and the U.S. share the objective of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

He also acknowledged some differences of view with the Israelis on the question of when and if Iran will decide to go ahead with building a bomb.