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Top US general arrives in Israel, seeks to strengthen operational military capabilities between two countries

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla meets with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, May 30, 2023 (Photo: Nicole Laskavi/IMoD)

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, the CENTCOM commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East region, arrived in the Jewish state on Tuesday for meetings with IDF Chief-of-Staff Herzi Halevi and other top Israeli military officials.

The purpose of the visit is reportedly to discuss deepening the cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli militaries. Strengthening operational capabilities is a priority for both the nations.

The official three-day visit of the U.S. commander comes as the Israel Defense Forces conducts a large military drill, dubbed “Firm Hand.”

The military exercise is designed to simulate a multi-front conflict in the air, at sea and on land, involving cyber and electromagnetic elements. The overall purpose is to test the Israeli military’s preparedness for a protracted multi-frontal war. 

While several previous drills have included both Israeli and U.S. forces, the latest one reportedly only involves Israeli troops.

Kurilla's latest visit to Israel comes after the recently concluded Israeli Operation Shield and Arrow against the Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the top U.S. visit also comes as Iran reportedly continues to make progress with nuclear weapons capabilities. 

During his previous visit to Israel in April, Kurilla praised the IDF’s capabilities and stressed the close military ties between the United States and the Jewish state. 

“As with every visit to the IDF, I was thoroughly impressed by the readiness for combat that I saw here. Our military relationship with Israel is solid,” Kurilla said. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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