Head of US air force visits Israel in secret

Mark Welsh discusses regional issues with counterparts; trip comes ahead scheduled arrival of chairman of joint chiefs of staff

Mark Welsh, 2012 (photo credit: EricSerge/Wikimedia Commons)
Mark Welsh, 2012 (photo credit: EricSerge/Wikimedia Commons)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Gen. Mark Welsh, the chief of staff of the US Air Force, completed a secret visit to Israel.

Welsh was in Israel August 4 to August 8 as the guest of the Commander of the Israel Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel. During his visit, Welsh met with senior officers and defense personnel, including Chief of the General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, and was hosted at air force bases throughout the country.

The officials discussed a number of topics including mutual security challenges in light of the regional security situation. Welsh and Eshel also discussed plans to further strengthen the cooperation between the US Air Force and the Israel Air Force, according to the IDF.

The meeting, which reportedly was kept secret at the request of the United States, comes in advance of a scheduled visit by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey is set to arrive on Monday, as a guest of Gantz, according to reports.

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