Israel-US ‘reaffirm unbreakable bonds’ amid Iraq crisis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has discussed recent turbulence in the Middle East in a telephone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Following the conversation, Netanyahu stated, “ I want to make one thing clear: We fully support all of the steps that the US has taken as well as its full right to defend itself and its citizens.”

According to a State Department memo sent to TV7, “Secretary Pompeo thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for Israel’s unwavering commitment to countering Iran’s malign regional influence, and its condemnation of the December 31 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.”

The statement added, “The Secretary and Prime Minister reaffirmed the unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel.”

Washington’s public expression of gratitude to Jerusalem comes in the wake of this week’s violent upheaval in Baghdad, where supporters of Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary groups stormed the U.S. embassy’s perimeter and hurled rocks in two days of protests. The mobs withdrew on Wednesday following the deployment of additional troops to safeguard the facility amid Washington’s threatened reprisals against Tehran.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo postponed a scheduled trip to Ukraine in order to focus on the situation in Iraq, as the U.S. Department of Defense announced the dispatching of 750 soldiers U.S. troops with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina to the U.S. Central Command area of operations on Wednesday (January 1) as part of the Immediate Response Force.

According to the Pentagon, additional troops are prepared to deploy over the next several days.