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Report: Israel to launch major exercise simulating strike on Iran this spring

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli and foreign fighter jets fly in formation during the Israeli Air Force's Blue Flag exercise in October 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
Israeli and foreign fighter jets fly in formation during the Israeli Air Force's Blue Flag exercise in October 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Israeli Air Force will hold a large-scale exercise over the Mediterranean this coming spring with dozens of aircraft simulating a strike against Iran’s nuclear program, the Kan broadcaster reports.

The unsourced report comes as Israeli officials have stepped up their rhetoric against the Islamic Republic as Tehran and the world powers have resumed long-stalled negotiations about curbing the country’s nuclear program. Though Israeli politicians have said they support this diplomatic effort, they have also stressed the need for a credible military threat against Iran as a “Plan B.”

According to the Kan report, the drill will be one of the largest ever held by the IAF and will include dozens of aircraft, including the F-15, F-35, and F-16, as well as Gulfstream G550 spy planes and refueling jets.

The planes will conduct the exercise far out over the Mediterranean Sea to simulate the distance — over 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) — that the aircraft would need to travel in a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The exercise is scheduled to be held in roughly six months, according to Kan.

The Israel Defense Forces did not immediately comment on the report.

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