Two large-scale drills will shortly be conducted in Israel, one a joint military exercise with the United States and the other a simulation in the aftermath of an earthquake.
Yesterday, around 1,000 US troops began arriving in Israel for a major joint missile and air defence exercise, which is likely to begin next week. A further 2,000 US military personnel in Europe and the United States will take part in the exercise via remote defence computing systems. Apparently, an equal number of Israeli soldiers will participate in the drill.
The drill will reportedly simulate the response to incoming rockets, utilising Israeli air defence systems, such as the Iron Dome anti-rocket shield and Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile batteries, as well as US and Israeli Patriot batteries. American naval ships carrying the Aegis combat system, which can intercept missiles, will take part, and at least one US Navy ship will dock at Haifa.
Refuting suggestions that the drill is part of a preparation for conflict with Iran, the commanders responsible for the exercise, U.S. Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin and Israeli Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel emphasised to reporters that this is the sixth in a series of regular bilateral drills. Franklin said that it is “strictly defensive in nature,” unrelated to “any perceived military tensions in the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Israel’s Home Front Command will begin its first national earthquake drill. Simulating 7,000 casualties, the exercise will involve Home Front Command taking over TV and radio broadcasts, and sending out text message alerts issuing instructions on what to do during an earthquake.
According to the Jerusalem Post, a Home Front Command source said, “This is an opportunity for the general public and local authorities to prepare for emergencies which could catch us by surprise.”