- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2024

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The head of U.S. Central Command traveled to Israel Thursday for high-level discussions with military officials about Iran’s threat to launch an attack against the Jewish state in retaliation for an Israeli air strike that killed a top Iranian general in Syria last week.

Gen. Erik Kurilla met with Israeli Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, and is expected to meet with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Friday. They are discussing preparations by Israel and the U.S. to counter any Iranian attacks against Israel using ballistic missiles and drones.

Several Israeli and American officials have already held discussions in preparation for an Iranian response to an IDF strike that killed Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi in Damascus last week, the Jerusalem Post reported.

After leading prayers to mark the end of the month-long Ramadan religious observance, Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday condemned the April 1 missile strike that hit Tehran’s embassy in Syria. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Israel, which he called the “evil Zionist regime,” of committing “another mistake.”

“The consulate and diplomatic missions in any country are considered to be the territory of that country. When they attack our consulate, it means they have attacked our soil,” the Ayatollah said, according to the official Iranian Students News Agency. “The evil regime made a mistake and must be punished and will be punished.”

Israel prodded the Biden administration to help reduce the chances Iran will launch an attack by conveying “discrete yet public warning messages” to Tehran along with conducting displays of military force in the region, a senior Israeli official told the Jerusalem Post.

While visiting an Iron Dome air defense site on Wednesday, Mr. Gallant said Israel will respond with force to any Iranian strike.

“Those who try to attack us will encounter a strong defense, and immediately afterward, a powerful response on the ground,” Mr. Gallant said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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