January 4, 2020 / 9:22 PM / 18 days ago

Pompeo says he spoke with Israel's Netanyahu about Iran

FILE PHOTO: The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Lisbon Portugal, December 4, 2019. Patricia de Melo Moreira/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday said he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran following the U.S. air strike that killed Iranian military general Qassem Soleimani.

Netanyahu “and I just spoke and underscored the importance of countering Iran’s malign influence and threats to the region,” Pompeo said on Twitter, adding that he was “always grateful for Israel’s steadfast support in defeating terrorism.”

Iran has vowed revenge against the United States for the killing on Friday of Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign legions near Baghdad airport in Iraq. Iranian-backed Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed.

The attack took Washington and its allies, mainly Saudi Arabia and Israel, into uncharted territory in their confrontation with Iran and its proxy militias across the region.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said in a statement that Pompeo also discussed with Netanyahu “the Trump Administration’s resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities and partners.”

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Paul Simao and Grant McCool

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