BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:15 A.M.) – US Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Tel Aviv, Friday, to discuss regional security issues.
Mattis stated that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) poses a threat “not only to Syria and Iraq but to Israel and other countries in this region, to Europe and ultimately to the US homeland,” and that therefore US has “accelerated and intensified that campaign to surround and isolate the enemy so we methodically remove its physical caliphate.”
Mattis visited Israel on his third leg of his five country Middle East tour that he embarked on to discuss the reinforcement and cooperation against extremist security threats with top officials. Before arriving at Tel Aviv, the US Secretary of Defence was welcomed in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
This is Mattis’ first visit to Israel as Secretary of Defence, and he is the first cabinet official from US President Donald Trump’s administration to visit the Middle Eastern country.