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Pentagon chief reiterates 'ironclad' support for Israel in call with counterpart

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin looks on as he arrives for a meeting of foreign ministers of the U.S., Britain, France and Germany on Afghanistan at NATO's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 14, 2021. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via Reuters

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated on Wednesday the United States' "ironclad support" for Israel's right to defend itself in a call with his Israeli counterpart, the Pentagon said.

"Secretary Austin conveyed the Department's ironclad support for Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and its people, and he strongly condemned the launching of rockets by Hamas and other (terrorist) groups," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

"(Austin) reiterated the importance of all involved parties to take steps to restore calm," Kirby added.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley also spoke with his Israeli counterpart.

A U.S. military statement said the "two leaders discussed the current security situation," but did not elaborate.

Reporting by Idrees Ali, Editing by Franklin Paul

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