Top US general visits Israel amid Iran retaliation fears: Pentagon

The top US commander for the Middle East is in Israel for talks on security threats with the country’s military officials, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The visit comes amid fears that Iran will retaliate after an Israeli strike that killed seven members of Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, including two generals, in Syria earlier this month.

General Erik Kurilla is in Israel “to meet with key IDF leadership… (and) discuss the current security threats in the region,” Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists.

Ryder said the trip was moved up from a previously scheduled date “due to recent developments.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday that Israel “must be punished and will be punished,” while US President Joe Biden pledged “ironclad” support for its top regional ally.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meanwhile spoke Thursday with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant, who told the Pentagon chief that a “direct Iranian attack will require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran.”

The two “discussed readiness for an Iranian attack against the state of Israel,” the country’s defense ministry said in a statement, adding that Gallant “emphasized that the state of Israel will not tolerate an Iranian attack on its territory.”

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