U.S. Air Force chief completes secret visit to Israel

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

The Aug. 4-8 visit, which reportedly was kept secret at the request of the United States, comes in advance of a scheduled visit this week by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Welsh met with senior officers and defense personnel, including the chief of the general staff, Lt.-Gen. Benjamin Gantz, and was hosted at Israeli Air Force bases.

Welsh was the guest of the commander of the Israeli Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel.

Among other topics, the officials discussed mutual challenges in light of the regional security situation. Welsh and Eshel also discussed plans to further strengthen the cooperation between their forces, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Dempsey is set to arrive on Monday as a guest of Gantz, according to reports.

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