IDF chief makes secret trip to Brussels to meet NATO head
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IDF chief makes secret trip to Brussels to meet NATO head

Gadi Eisenkot, with two brigadier generals, discusses recent regional developments with Supreme Allied Commander, The Times of Israel has learned

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Head of US European Command Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti meets with IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot in the military's Tel Aviv headquarters, as part of an official visit, on March 6, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Head of US European Command Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti meets with IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot in the military's Tel Aviv headquarters, as part of an official visit, on March 6, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot made an undeclared trip to Brussels to speak with the top US general in Europe this weekend, The Times of Israel learned Sunday.

Eisenkot traveled with two brigadier generals, Erez Maisel, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Foreign Relations Division, and Ram Yavne, the head of the army’s Strategic Division.

In Belgium, the senior officers met with Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, who serves as both the head of the US military’s European Command and as supreme allied commander of NATO.

Hadashot news, formerly known as Channel 2 news, first reported on the unannounced trip on Sunday night.

During the short visit, the Israeli generals discussed recent regional developments with Scaparrotti. This likely included Iran’s alleged construction of a military base less than 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Israel’s Golan border.

On Friday, the BBC, citing a Western security official, reported that Iran was setting up a permanent base a site used by the Syrian army near el-Kiswah, 14 kilometers (8 miles) south of Damascus, and 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Israeli border.

Satellite image of alleged Iranian base in Syria (Airbus, Digital Globe and McKenzie Intelligence Services/BBC)

The BBC provided satellite images that show “a series of two dozen large low-rise buildings, likely for housing soldiers and vehicles.”

הבסיס שעלול לקלוט את המליציות השיעיות של איראן //אתמול נחשפו על ידי רשת ה-BBC, צילומי לוויין המתעדים שלוחה בתוך בסיס צ…

Posted by ‎אינטלי טיימס‎ on Saturday, 11 November 2017

Video footage obtained by the Israeli military analysis blog Intelli Times showed that the buildings were being used both for transport jeeps and for trucks with attached rocket launchers.

The vehicles were consistent with the types used by Iran-backed Shiite militias, according to Intelli Times.

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