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US, Israeli defence chiefs discuss 'urgent' regional threats

April 13, 2024 at 7:08 pm

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (L) and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant (R) pose for a photo ahead of their joint press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 18, 2023. [Israel MOD/Ariel Hermoni – Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant have discussed “urgent” regional threats, Pentagon said on Saturday, Anadolu reports.

During a phone call, Austin reiterated unwavering US support for Israel’s defense, it said in a statement.

“Secretary Austin made clear that Israel could count on full US support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies,” it added.

The call came amid fears that Iran will attack Israel in retaliation for the April 1 airstrike on its diplomatic facility in the Syrian capital Damascus. The strike killed at least seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two top generals.

Iran has accused Israel of carrying out the attack and vowed to respond. Tel Aviv has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but it has for months carried out a number of strikes against Iranian targets across Syria.

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Both Iran and Hezbollah, its main ally in Lebanon, have said that the attack will not go unpunished.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden will return to Washington on Saturday afternoon to consult with his national security team about events in the Middle East, cutting short his weekend trip to Delaware.

“Don’t,” US President Joe Biden on Friday said is his message to Tehran.

“We are devoted to the defense of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,” he told reporters.

Asked by a reporter how imminent an Iranian attack is, Biden said his expectation is “sooner than later.”

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