VIDEO: Israel, US conduct air force drills in Greece

The US military released a video of the drill which was obtained by Channel 2's online news portal MAKO.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
April 22, 2016 18:34
2 minute read.
IAF fighter jets fly over the Dead Sea

IAF fighter jets fly over the Dead Sea. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

 
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The air forces of the United States, Greece, and Israel concluded a large-scale joint drill earlier this week over the Mediterranean.

Following the collapse of the close defense relationship with Turkey, Israel and Greece have stepped up military cooperation, including joint maneuvers.

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The US military released a video of the drill which was obtained by Channel 2's online news portal MAKO.


The air force teams practiced complex operations while simulating various scenarios, among them the need for long-range attack raids.

The drills are considered significant in maintaining aerial capabilities that are considered vital for exerting Western influence over the Mediterranean basin.

The Kremlin on Friday denied media reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had discussed alleged incidents involving Russian forces in Syria and Israel Air Force aircraft.

"In this case, Israeli press reports are far from reality," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with journalists.

Earlier on Friday, Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot first reported that Russian forces in Syria have fired at least twice on Israeli military aircraft, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek improved operational coordination with Moscow.



The unsourced report gave no dates or locations for the incidents nor any indication Israeli planes were hit. Russia mounted its military intervention in Syria in September to shore Damascus up amid a now 5-year-old rebellion.

Separately, Israel's Channel 10 TV said a Russian warplane approached an Israeli warplane off the Mediterranean coast of Syria last week but that there was no contact between them.

An IDF spokesman declined comment. Netanyahu's office and the Russian embassy in Israel did not immediately respond.

Visiting Moscow on Thursday, Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks: "I came here with one main goal - to strengthen the security coordination between us so as to avoid mishaps, misunderstandings and unnecessary confrontations."

In an apparent allusion to Syria, Putin said: "I think there are understandable reasons for these intensive contacts (with Israel), given the complicated situation in the region."

According to Yediot, the reported Russian fire on Israeli planes was first raised with Putin by President Reuven Rivlin, who visited Moscow on March 15. At the time, Putin responded that he was unaware of the incidents, the report said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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