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US Defense Chief to Visit Israel Next Week for Talks on Iran, Syria, Lebanon - Reports

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteArmy Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command
Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.04.2021
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to have high-level meetings with counterparts in Tel Aviv next week to discuss matters concerning Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing Israeli officials.

During his anticipated visit, Austin is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the report said.

The report added that Israeli officials plan to raise concerns over Trump-era US-Israeli security understandings considered by Tel Aviv to be crucial for maintaining Israel's military advantage in the region.

The Pentagon declined to comment on Austin's expected visit, the report said.

Earlier on Tuesday, media reported that an Iranian vessel belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Forces (IRGC) was attacked off the coast of Eritrea in the Red Sea.

Last week, Iran attacked a cargo ship belonging to XT Management, an Israeli company. In late February, an explosion occurred on an Israeli ship in the Gulf of Oman. No one was harmed, but Netanyahu quickly accused Iran of carrying out the attack. Tehran has denied the allegations.

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