In a clear signal to Iran, a United States Air Force B-52H “Stratofortress” bomber flew over the Persian Gulf, before the plane was spotted in Israeli airspace heading back to its base in the US. It was escorted by Israeli Air Force F-15s as it passed over Israel.
It was the seventh mission
into CENTCOM’s area of operation in the last four months and the second deployment of the heavy bomber since Joe Biden became president on January 20.
The US has been trying to get the Iranians to return to the negotiating table to discuss its illicit nuclear program and in the meantime has dispatched the B-52 heavy bombers and recently attacked Iranian militia targets in Syria.
Last week, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel was updating its attack plans against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
"We have them [the attack plans] in our hands, but we will continue [to] constantly improve them," Gantz said.
"The Iranian nuclear aspiration must be stopped. If the world stops them before, it's very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves," Gantz said.
After a recent deployment
, the US Central Command said the bomber was sent to the Gulf to underscore America’s commitment to regional security and the ability to rapidly deploy to the region as needed.
“The United States continues to deploy combat-ready capabilities into the US Central Command area of responsibility to deter any potential adversary, and make clear that we are ready and able to respond to any aggression directed at Americans or our interests,” said Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander, US Central Command, at the time. “We do not seek conflict, but no one should underestimate our ability to defend our forces or to act decisively in response to any attack.”