Israel has made an initial request for its annual U.S. defence aid to increase to as much as $5 billion (£3.25 billion) when its current aid package, worth an average $3 billion a year, expires in 2017, U.S. congressional sources said on Wednesday.

Israel wants $5 billion per year in military aid for 10 years, for a total of $50 billion, the congressional aides said. It has been signalling that it wants more money to counter threats it says will arise as a result of the international agreement on Iran‘s nuclear programme, which Israel’s government has staunchly opposed.

Congressional and other U.S. officials cautioned that negotiations on the new aid deal were still in the early stages and the proposal is not yet at the stage where it has been formally brought to Congress, which must approve the funds. […]