Europe

Israel's Netanyahu backs sub purchase amid calls for inquiry

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AFP)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AFP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AFP)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AFP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AFP)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (Menahem Kahana, Pool via AFP)  (The Associated Press)

Israel's prime minister has made his first comments on a brewing scandal over the purchase of German submarines, saying his only consideration was fortifying the country's security.

Benjamin Netanyahu's comments Sunday come amid calls for an inquiry after it was revealed his personal attorney, David Shimron, had represented the German company building the submarines. The reports into Shimron's involvement in the sale raised concerns over a potential conflict of interests. Suspicions of impropriety were heightened after former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said he was sidelined on the plans.

Israel has ordered six submarines from Germany over the past two decades. Israel decided to buy three new ones to replace its older submarines.

Netanyahu says the purchase is essential to Israel's security and that was "the only consideration that guided me."