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US deploys advanced missile defense system in Israel in strong warning to Iran

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Donald Trump
The US military has deployed its most advanced air and missile defence system to Israel for the first time as Donald Trump continues to flex his military muscle in a show of force against arch-foe Iran.

The deployment, which began in March, was intended to test the US military's ability to rapidly deploy such weapons around the world amid simmering tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran’s bombing campaign in Syria. The move comes after Iran's foreign minister said he could not rule out the possibility of military conflict between the two countries amid fears of all-out World War 3.

Citing security reasons, a spokeswoman for US European Command declined to say how long it took to move the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is built by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to Israel from its home base of Fort Bliss in Texas.

The US military said the decision to rapidly move the THAAD system to Israel was intended "as a demonstration of the United States' continued commitment to Israel's regional security”.

A spokeswoman for US European Command said: ”THAAD is the most advanced integrated air and missile defence system in the world, and this deployment readiness exercise demonstrates that US forces are agile and can respond quickly and unpredictably to any threat, anywhere, at any time.

As part of the deployment, American forces will work at various locations in Europe, the US and in Israel to operate the system in close cooperation with the Israel Defence Force.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said the deployment differed from previous simulated US-Israel joint military exercises and involved tactical coordination on the ground.

He said all of the components of the THAAD system were at an air force base in the Negev desert, in southern Israel.

The system will soon be transported to an undisclosed site in southern Israel.

He said: “The advantage from the Israeli point of view is that we have an opportunity to integrate it into our systems and simulate different scenarios.”

The development was likely to exacerbate tensions between Tehran and Washington, already heightened by President Donald Trump who pulled his nation out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year.

In May last year, Donald Trump withdrew the US from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Iran and ordered the reimposition of American sanctions suspended under the deal aimed at stalling Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.
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