Israel says it is building regional air defence alliance alongside US

Defence Minister Benny Gantz said this could be boosted by Joe Biden's visit next month

The plan was unveiled by Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz in a briefing to politicians. AP
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Israel says it is building a US-sponsored regional air defence alliance which has already foiled attempted Iranian attacks.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz unveiled the “Middle East Air Defence Alliance” in a briefing to Israeli politicians on Monday.

On the same day Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid agreed to dissolve parliament, with the latter to take over as prime minister.

Mr Gantz said the alliance could be boosted by President Joe Biden's visit next month.

Israel has offered defence co-operation to the US-aligned Arab states that share its concerns over Iran.

Washington hopes more co-operation, especially on security, will help to further integrate Israel in the region and isolate Iran.

Mr Gantz said co-operation with countries in the region was already under way.

“Over the past year, I have been leading an extensive programme, together with my partners at the Pentagon and in the US administration, that will strengthen the co-operation between Israel and countries in the region,” he said in an official transcript reported by Reuters.

“This programme is already operative and has already enabled the successful interception of Iranian attempts to attack Israel and other countries.”

The transcript did not name partner countries, give further details of the thwarted attacks or provide details on the mechanics of the alliance.

“I hope that we will take another step forward in this aspect (of regional co-operation) during President Biden’s important visit,” Mr Gantz said.

Mr Biden is visiting the region from July 13 to July 16 with stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia, where he will meet Arab leaders.

Updated: June 21, 2022, 7:49 AM
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