WORLD Israel says builds US-sponsored Mideast air defense alliance


Israel says builds US-sponsored Mideast air defense alliance


19:10, June 20, 2022

JERUSALEM, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Israel is building a U.S.-sponsored air defense alliance in the Middle East which has already thwarted attempted Iranian attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday.

Dubbing the regional alliance as Middle East Air Defense (MEAD), Gantz said it is being built "in the wake of Iran's attempts to hit the region with rockets, cruise missiles and drones," according to an official transcript of his meeting with the parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The Israeli defense minister revealed that he has been working on the extensive program together with the Pentagon and the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden over the past year.

Its aim is "to strengthen the cooperation between Israel and countries in the region under the auspices of the United States and CentCom (the U.S. Central Command)," Gantz said.

He did not specify which other countries in the region are part of the new alliance already "in operation."

Gantz said he was hopeful that the plan would be boosted by Biden's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia in July.

Israel and Gulf countries have been drawn closer over the past years amid their shared concerns over Iran as Israel has been publicly calling for defense cooperation.

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