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12 Apr, 2024 22:17

US sends reinforcements to ‘defend Israel’

Washington is “devoted” to West Jerusalem, President Joe Biden has said
US sends reinforcements to ‘defend Israel’

American ships and troops in the Middle East prepared for a likely Iranian attack on Israel on Friday, as US President Joe Biden urged Tehran to think twice.

Iranian leaders have vowed to “punish” Israel for the April 1 airstrike on the consulate in Damascus, Syria that killed seven officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two of its generals.

“Don’t,” Biden said on Friday, when asked what his message to Iran was.

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

The Pentagon is moving additional troops and equipment to sites in the Middle East, to “bolster regional deterrence efforts and increase force protection,” an anonymous official said in a background briefing.

The Defense Department did not specify the number or type of assets deployed, but according to the Wall Street Journal, two destroyers – at least one armed with the Aegis missile defense system – have been repositioned in the area.

Meanwhile, the head of the US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, has extended his stay in Israel, Axios reported, citing Israeli officials. Kurilla arrived on Thursday to coordinate defense against a potential Iranian strike.

Tehran has said it has an “imperative to punish” Israel because the UN did nothing to condemn West Jerusalem’s “reprehensible act of aggression on our diplomatic premises in Damascus” or bring the perpetrators to justice.

Israel has vowed to respond to any attack with strikes of its own, with UK tabloids speculating that they might target Iranian nuclear facilities. Anonymous US intelligence officials have spread rumors of potential American participation in these attacks.

However, a number of countries in the region where the US has bases or treaty rights have reportedly told Washington that it can’t use them to strike Iran. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait have denied the use of their territory and airspace so far, according to the Middle East Eye. There has been no word from Bahrain so far.