As the senior U.S. military commander in charge of the Middle East, Gen. Erik Kurilla plans to travel to Israel Thursday to meet with Israeli officials to coordinate a response to a potential attack on Israel by Iran and its proxy groups, Axios reported.

   Two Israeli officials told the outlet that the commander of U.S. Central Command, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and other senior Israel Defense Forces officials plan to meet.

   Intelligence reports from the United States have said Iran will strike either government or military targets inside Israel using drones or high precision missiles in the coming days. The report did not specify if the attack will come directly from Tehran or one of its proxy groups such as Hezbollah.

   Last week, a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus killed Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a top Iranian Quds Force general in charge of Iran’s military operations in Lebanon and Syria. In response, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed revenge for the strike.

   “When they attack the consulate, it is as if they have attacked our soil,” Khamenei said during a speech marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “The evil regime made a mistake and must be punished, and it shall be.”

   It would be an unprecedented move for Iran to attack Israel directly from its own soil and not via the use of proxies. Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, responded to Khamenei’s threats on X posting in Hebrew, “If Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack in Iran.”

   Commenting on the White House lawn during a joint appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, President Joe Biden said, “We also want to address the Iranian threat to launch a significant — they’re threatening to launch a significant attack in Israel. As I told [Israeli] Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad. Let me say it again: ironclad.

   “We’re gonna do all we can to protect Israel’s security.”

   While a U.S. defense official told Axios that it was Department of Defense policy “not to discuss flag officer travel for operational security,” the impending trip won’t be the first visit Kurilla has made to Israel in the past six months. In October, the four-star general made an unannounced visit to just prior to Israel’s ground assault in Gaza.

   News of the pending Iranian strike added to the widespread concern of an escalation across the Middle East. Earlier Wednesday, three sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh were killed during an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip.


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