newsIsrael at War

CENTCOM commander in Israel amid Iranian threats

Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), will reportedly meet with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and senior military officials.

OC U.S. CENTCOM Gen. Michael Kurilla (left) attends a panel discussion in Tel Aviv with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, May 30, 2023. Credit: IDF.
OC U.S. CENTCOM Gen. Michael Kurilla (left) attends a panel discussion in Tel Aviv with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, May 30, 2023. Credit: IDF.

The U.S. military commander in charge of the Middle East arrived in Israel on Thursday to coordinate with the Israel Defense Forces regarding a possible attack by Iran and its proxies, Axios reported, citing two Israeli officials.

Gen. Erik Kurilla, commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), will reportedly meet with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and senior military officials.

Washington and its allies believe a major attack on Israel by Iran is imminent and may be launched in the coming days, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden sent a public warning to Iran, saying: “As I told Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

The Islamic Republic’s response to the killing of an Iranian general in Syria on April 1, which Tehran has blamed on the Jewish state, could involve high-precision missiles being launched at Israel, according to the report.

An Iranian retaliatory attack could include “a swarm of Shahed loitering drones and cruise missiles,” according to U.S. intelligence, CBS News reported on April 5.

Israel’s allies have reportedly been told that government and military structures may be targeted but civilian facilities are not expected to be.

Overnight Monday, Gallant spoke to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about “ongoing threats posed by Iranian aggression, including via Iranian proxy Hezbollah. They discussed coordination in the face of scenarios involving regional escalation,” according to an Israeli readout.

On Tuesday, Israeli Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer reportedly held a call on this issue with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The top U.S. diplomat spoke with Gallant on Wednesday and “reiterated the United States’ support for Israel’s security and made clear that the U.S. will stand with Israel against any threats by Iran and its proxies,” according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Gallant on Wednesday warned that, “Whoever tries to attack us will be faced with strong defense and right after with strong response in his territory.”

For his part, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned on Tuesday that Israel will respond in kind should Iran launch a direct attack against it.

“If Iran attacks from its territory—Israel will respond and attack in Iran,” tweeted Katz. The minister tagged Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the X post.

Khamenei said on Wednesday that “Israel must be punished, and they will pay for their mistakes.”

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