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CENTCOM commander visits Israel, observes multifront war exercise

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla is on a wider tour of the Middle East as the Pentagon aims to build regional military capabilities to better deter attacks by Iran and its proxies.
CENTCOM Chief Michael Kurilla meets with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Tel Aviv, May 30 2023 Credit: IDF spokesperson office.

The head of all US forces in the Middle East, Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, arrived in Israel on Tuesday for a three-day visit as part of a wider tour of the region amid lingering tensions with Iran.

Kurilla arrived just a day after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) kicked off two weeks of war games to simulate a multi-front conflict

The CENTCOM chief was set to observe the exercise, dubbed Firm Hand, and was photographed alongside IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Tuesday. The current Israeli exercises do not include US forces, one official told Al-Monitor.

In a statement, the IDF said Kurilla’s visit began with a stop at one of Israel’s more secretive intelligence outfits, Unit 504, which runs the army's human intelligence. The US commander was briefed on the unit’s recent operations and future direction and planned capabilities, the statement added. 

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