Israel, US Holding Large-scale Joint Military Exercise in Show of Strength for Iran
The Israel Defense Forces and United States Central Command are participating in a large-scale joint exercise in Israel and over the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Juniper Oak 23.2 exercise “strengthens collective US-Israeli readiness and improves the interoperability of both forces, thereby contributing to regional stability,” CENTCOM said in a statement announcing the exercise. Israeli news outlets reporting on the exercise, which kicked off on Monday, called it a message to Iran. The exercise will include a large-scale live fire event with over 140 aircraft including B-52s, F-35s, F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, AC-130, AH-64s, 12 naval vessels, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, CENTCOM confirmed. The exercise “improves our interoperability on land, in the air, at sea, in space, and in cyberspace with our partners, enhances our ability to respond to contingencies, and underscores our commitment to the Middle East,” Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of CENTCOM, said. The exercise reportedly will include refueling drills in mid-air and at sea, which would be necessary for any attack on Iran.