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CENTCOM commander travels to Israel to coordinate response to potential Iranian attack

Washington has stepped up its public displays of support for the Jewish state after Iran vowed to retaliate for an attack near its embassy in Damascus, Syria.

El comandante de la CENTCOM, Michael Kurilla, (derecha) con el ministro de Defensa, Yoav Gallant, (izquierda).

CENTCOM Commander Michael Kurilla (left) with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (right) in 2023. (Ariel Hermoni - IMOD)

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The commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), General Erik Kurilla, is traveling to Israel on Thursday to coordinate a joint response to a possible Iranian attack, according to two Israeli officials quoted by Axios. The local newspaper The Times of Israel confirmed the general's arrival on Israeli soil after noon local time.

The senior U.S. official was scheduled to meet with IDF commanders and Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. According to the same media, the Israel Defense Forces are preparing for a possible attack with drones, cruise and ballistic missiles from Iranian territory. They also do not rule out the involvement of , although the novelty of the possible offensive would be that Iran would act directly.

Tension escalated in the region following the airstrike on a building neighboring the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, which resulted in the death of, among others, the leader of the most senior Iranian forces in Syria and Lebanon, Mohamed Reza Zahedi. Iranian authorities accused Israel and promised retaliation. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself assured that the Jewish State "must be punished and will be punished."

The U.S. and Israel have been on high alert since the attack in early April. American and Israeli officials from all agencies involved have intensified collaboration in recent days, according to Axios. The Israeli defense minister has received calls from Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. Biden himself spoke with the Israeli prime minister shortly after the attack on Syrian soil.

During his meeting Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, President Biden stated that his "commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad. Let me say it again: ironclad." The Democratic leader also said they discussed their "shared support for a ceasefire and a hostage deal" and "urgent efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis that exists in Gaza."