The United States and Israel today began their largest joint military exercise to date, deploying a dozen warships and around 140 aircraft to the Eastern Mediterranean amid rising tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, DPA reported.
Thousands of troops are taking part in the exercise, the Israeli military said, adding that it was aimed at countering “various regional threats”. The media reported that the exercise was the largest of its kind involving the two allies.
US Central Command said: “This exercise strengthens the collective readiness of the US and Israel and improves the interoperability of the two forces, thereby contributing to regional stability.”
During a meeting with representatives of the American Jewish Committee, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the joint goal of the two allies is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran’s nuclear program was also at the center of talks between US national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Netanyahu in Jerusalem last week.
Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian leaders have declared Israel their sworn enemy and repeatedly called for its destruction. Israel has opposed attempts to revive the deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, originally agreed upon in 2015 but frozen in 2018 when the US withdrew from it.