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US CENTCOM chief in Israel as part of IDF drill

Gallant briefs Gen. Mike Kurilla on recent war against Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (left) with U.S. CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael E. Kurilla during the "Juniper Oak" joint exercise in Israel, January 2023. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi (left) with U.S. CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael E. Kurilla during the "Juniper Oak" joint exercise in Israel, January 2023. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East arrived in Israel on Tuesday, a day after the Israeli military launched a two-week drill simulating a multi-front war.

The first stop on Gen. Mike Kurilla’s three-day visit was the Israel Defense Forces’ Unit 504 human intelligence unit, where he was briefed on the unit’s recent and planned operations.

He then took part in a discussion headed by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi focusing on strengthening joint operational capabilities and coordination.

Kurilla attended a situation assessment at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv as part of the “Firm Hand” exercise.

Afterwards, he and Halevi held a personal working meeting.

The IDF said that it and the U.S. military will continue to “deepen the operational relationship out of a shared commitment to maintaining the security of the region.”

On Tuesday night, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with Kurilla to discuss developments in the Middle East.

Gallant expressed appreciation for Washington’s ongoing military cooperation and for the deep bond between the United States and Israel. He also emphasized the importance of American involvement in ensuring stability and expanding the circle of peace in the region.

Gallant raised the importance of joint exercises between the U.S. and Israel and of further deepening ties between the countries’ defense establishments.

Finally, Gallant briefed Kurilla on this month’s “Operation Shield and Arrow” against Islamic Jihad in Gaza, including the elimination of senior terrorist leaders.

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