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Israel, U.S. Begin Large Scale Military Drills in Show of Strength

An Israeli soldier in Ashkelon, Israel. AP
An Israeli soldier in Ashkelon, Israel. AP

Israel's army and the U.S. Central Command announced today the beginning of a massive joint military exercise in the Jewish state, aimed to show adversaries like Iran that Washington is not distracted by the war in Ukraine nor by the threat from China to mobilize a large military force, according to a senior defense official.

Dubbed the 'Juniper Oak' exercise, the drill was described as “the most significant exercise between the United States and Israel to date" and would involve over 140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels, and artillery systems from both nations and will last until Friday, CENTCOM said in a statement.

In a statement, Israel's army said 'Juniper' Oak is meant to "test U.S.-Israeli readiness and improve the interoperability of both forces, as well as target strikes and training in complex terrain while integrating joint communications and command and control systems."

Senior CENTCOM officials will visit the sites of the exercise throughout the week. The operation is an additional layer of defense that strengthens and trains the multi-branch and international methods of action among the militaries to counter a variety of regional threats.

Under the previous Israeli chief of staff Aviv Kochavi, Israel was transferred from the U.S. European Command area of responsibility to CENTCOM, allowing more coordination with its Arab neighbors.

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