Two Israeli and one American F-16 fighter jets during a joint exercise in southern Israel, Jan. 2022. (Israel Defense Forces) (Israel Defense Forces)
Desert Falcon

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Israel’s biggest threats — Iran, Hezbollah activities in Syria and Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen — are in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The US Air Force is temporarily stationing six fighter jets in Israel, the Israeli Air Force confirmed on Monday.

The six F-15 jets arrived at the Nevatim Air Base near Beersheva on Monday and will participate in exercises with the Israeli Air Force simulating strikes deep in enemy territory, according to the IAF.

In recent years, the US Air Force has shifted from basing its aircraft on American bases around the world and instead dispersing them to bases in allied countries.

In January 2021, during the final days of his presidency, US President Donald Trump transferred Israel from the US European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility to the Central Command (CENTCOM). The move was intended to streamline US-Israeli military cooperation, and encourage Israeli and Arab collaboration against Iran.

Israel’s biggest threats — Iran, Hezbollah activities in Syria and Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen — are in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility.

That has led to a number of naval drills and air force exercises involving the US, Israel, its Abraham accords partners, and other countries.

During a visit to CENTCOM’s headquarters in Florida in November, outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said that “joint activity with CENTCOM will be significantly expanded in the near future.”

Negotiations for the US to return to the Iran nuclear deal faded out amid months of widespread anti-government protests within Iran, and with Tehran providing drones for Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

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