PM: Israel will respond with 'utmost strength' to terror

Netanyahu meets with visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Caesarea; Gates: Security ties closer than they've ever been.

Netanyahu Gates 311 (photo credit: GPO)
Netanyahu Gates 311
(photo credit: GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday said that Israel is "prepared to respond with the utmost strength in order to put a stop to terror," Israel Radio reported. Netanyahu's comments came prior to a meeting with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Caesarea.
Netanyahu said that US President Barack Obama telephoned him in Moscow on Thursday, telling him that the United States stands behind Israel in the country's fight against terror.
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Prior to the meeting, Gates said that security ties between Washington and Israel are closer than they have ever been.
He stated that Israel and the United States face a challenging and volatile region that allows for new opportunities.
The US defense secretary met with President Shimon Peres on Thursday and said that the United States is very concerned with the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
Gate’s visit here is his second trip to Israel as defense secretary. His first visit was in April 2007 when Amir Peretz still served as defense minister.
Gates is on a tour throughout the Middle East reported to be part of a farewell trip ahead of his planned retirement this summer.
After meetings with Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Netahyahu, Gates was scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Friday.
During their hour-long meeting, Barak and Gates discussed ways to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in a changing Middle East, as well as ways to ensure Israeli security so the government will feel confident to move forward with the Palestinian peace track.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report