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WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES U.S. WILL SEND HELICOPTERS TO ISRAEL

The Bush administration said Saturday it will send an unspecified number of Apache and Blackhawk helicopters to Israel as part of the United States' commitment to maintain Israel's "qualitative military edge."

The White House also said a certain amount of American-owned defense equipment will be located in Israel as part of an agreement reached between President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.Congress granted authority two years ago for the administration to "draw down" as much as $700 million in equipment from active duty stock for transfer to Israel, said Judy Smith, deputy White House press secretary.

In Jerusalem, Oded Ben-Ami, an adviser to Rabin, said details of the agreement were initially discussed between Rabin and Bush in the United States last month and were finalized through diplomatic channels Friday.

Smith said the fiscal 1991 authorization also covered the pre-positioning of up to $300 million U.S.-owned equipment in Israel.