Israel US flags.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A joint IDF-US European Command missile drill, dubbed Juniper Cobra 16, began Sunday, the military said.
The drill is aimed at improving cooperation and coordination between the two militaries, and training defenses against ballistic missile attacks.
The drill, held since 2001 and now conducted every two years, is taking place for the eight time. In 2014, more than 1,700 US soldiers arrived in Israel to practice missile defenses in computerized simulations.
“This drill provides an opportunity for both militaries for joint learning and training,” the IDF Spokesman’s Office said. “The drill is another step in strategic relations between Israel and the US, and will contribute much to regional stability.”
Brig.-Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, commander of the IAF’s Air Defense Division, described Juniper Cobra 16 as a “central milestone in strategic ties between the countries, a defense alliance like no other in the world. This cooperation expresses commitment to the lives of civilians,” he said.
Gen. Mark L. Loeben, director of exercises and assessments in the US Air Force, said supporting Israel’s right to defend itself has been an integral part of US policy in the region for decades.
He said the exercise is at the top of EUCOM’s priority list for 2016.