- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2021

Missile attacks against Israel by the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas prompted Pentagon officials to withdraw about 120 Department of Defense personnel from Israel on Thursday.

The personnel, who had been in Israel for a future military exercise planning conference, were evacuated to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft.

“We made this decision to move these individuals in coordination with our Israeli counterparts,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Such planning conferences are routine events, Mr. Kirby said.

“When we conduct a major exercise, there are a series of planning conferences that lead up to it because there are a lot of things and details to work through,” he said.

The conference was scheduled to wrap up at the end of the week but out of an “abundance of caution,” the order was given to withdraw the U.S. military personnel a few days early, Mr. Kirby said.

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