IDF chief of staff greets US CENTCOM commander in Tel Aviv

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi led a guard of honor at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to receive the new commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM ), Major General Michael Kurilla, during his first official visit to Israel.

The visit will focus on “US-Israeli cooperation, maintaining regional stability, and managing joint operational threats and challenges,” the IDF said in a statement. Israel officially transitioned from European Command (EUCOM) to CENTCOM on September 1, 2021.

During his visit, Kurilla will also observe the IDF’s “Chariots of Fire” exercise, according to the IDF. The month-long exercise is the largest held by the IDF in decades and will simulate “intense multi-arena combat in the air, at sea, on land and in the cyber-arena”, according to the army. . Initially scheduled for May 2021, it was delayed by the outbreak of fighting with Hamas.

Israel’s Channel 13 reported on Tuesday that as part of the exercise, in two weeks, Israeli Air Force fighter jets will simulate a strike on targets in Iran, along with US air-to-air refueling aircraft.

The US participation “is a message to Iranians, at a time when negotiations on the nuclear deal with Iran are stalled”, according to the report. “The Israeli message is that if the Americans don’t attack, they should at least help Israel,” he added.

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