US reinforces Israel’s defense

Washington “stands firm” on West Jerusalem, President Biden has affirmed

American vessels and forces stationed in the Middle East braced for a potential Iranian attack on Israel on Friday, as President Joe Biden urged Tehran to reconsider its actions.

Iranian officials have pledged to “retaliate” against Israel for the April 1 airstrike on its consulate in Damascus, Syria, which killed seven officers from the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two generals.

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

“Our commitment to Israel’s defense is unwavering. We will stand with Israel and support its efforts to defend itself. Iran’s aggression will not succeed,” he added.

The Pentagon is deploying additional troops and equipment to locations in the Middle East to “bolster regional deterrence capabilities and enhance force protection,” an unnamed official said during a background briefing.

The Department of Defense did not disclose the number or type of assets being deployed, but according to the Wall Street Journal, two destroyers – one of which is equipped with the Aegis missile defense system – have been “repositioned” in the region.

Meanwhile, General Michael Kurilla, head of the US Central Command, has extended his visit to Israel, Axios reported, citing Israeli sources. Kurilla arrived on Thursday to “coordinate” preparations for a potential Iranian strike.

Tehran has stated that it has an “obligation to retaliate” against Israel because the UN has failed to condemn West Jerusalem’s “reprehensible act of aggression against our diplomatic compound in Damascus” or hold the perpetrators accountable.

Israel has pledged to respond to any attack with retaliatory strikes, with UK tabloids speculating that it may target Iranian nuclear facilities. Unnamed US intelligence sources have hinted at the possibility of American involvement in such strikes.

However, several countries in the region where the US maintains military bases or has treaty rights have reportedly informed Washington that they will not allow their territory to be used for strikes against Iran. According to the Middle East Eye, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait have denied the use of their territory and airspace for such purposes. Bahrain has not yet commented.