Israeli Jets Escort US B-52s during Mideast Flyby in Warning to Iran

A pair of B-52 bombers flew over the Mideast on Sunday, March 7, the latest such mission in the region aimed at warning Iran amidst continuing tensions between Washington and Tehran. Four Israeli F-15 jets accompanied each B-52.

The US military’s Central Command said the two B-52s flew over the region accompanied by military aircraft from nations including Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Sunday’s flyby through the region by the B-52 heavy bombers was at least the seventh such maneuver in the past six months. According Al-Ittihad and Zo Haderech, it marked the first time that Israeli planes were photographed accompanying the US bombers. However, it marked the fourth-such deployment of American bombers to the Mideast since the beginning of this year and the already the second under the new administration of President Joe Biden.

Israeli F-15 fighter jets escort an American B-52 bomber through Israeli airspace, Sunday, March 7, 2021.

Israeli F-15 fighter jets escort an American B-52 bomber through Israeli airspace, Sunday, March 7, 2021. (Screenshot: IDF)

Recent weeks have seen multiple attacks on American military bases in Iraq by Iran-linked militias, including one last week that resulted in the death of an American contractor, as well an attack on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman that Israel has blamed on Tehran. Late last month, the US responded to the rocket attacks on its bases with an airstrike on an Iran-linked militia in Syria.

“This flight is another testament to the strategic cooperation with American forces, which is a cornerstone in the preservation of the security of the airspace of the State of Israel and the Middle East,” a spokesperson for Israel’s military said in a statement.

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday, March 2, that Israel intends to develop a “special security arrangement” with the reactionary regimes of Arab Gulf states, who share common concerns over Iran. This comes after i24 News reported that Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have discussed expanding cooperation against their common enemies. “We will continue to confront any threat, along with our new and veteran partners, chiefly the US, so that Iran will not be able to develop nuclear capacity,” Gantz said.