Gavish (L) and Richardson
Photo: Ofer Amram
US, Israel launch joint military exercise
Three-week Juniper Cobra drill said to be unrelated to regional developments. Exercise meant to simulate various threats Israel may come under, test different defense systems

The Israel Defense Forces and the US Military began a joint three-week exercise Thursday.


Brig.-Gen. Doron Gavish, head of the Israel Air Force's Air Defense Division told Ynet the exercise was the fifth of its kind, and "has been in the works for the past five months. It has nothing to do with any regional development."



The Juniper Cobra exercise is being held amid reports suggesting Iran and Western powers are drafting an agreement concerning its nuclear program.


"The exercise will include various scenarios fitting the threats Israel faces," said Gavish. The next three weeks, he added, will present the opportunity for a technological and professional exchange with the US military, meant to enhance Israel's aerial defense capabilities.


The exercise will include three stages: A joint-tactical forces drill, simulations and testing the new Patriot surface-to-air missile system.


Over 1,000 servicemen from the US' European Command (USEUCOM), headed by Admiral John Richardson, will partake in the exercise, as will a similar number of IDF servicemen.


Various defense systems that have yet to be declared fully operational, such as Iron Dome, would also be integrated into the drill.  


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