US CENTCOM wraps up largest-ever joint drill with IDF

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Israeli and American fighter jets fly alongside an American B-52 bomber over the Mediterranean Sea during the Juniper Oak 2023 drill, January 25, 2023. (CENTCOM)
Israeli and American fighter jets fly alongside an American B-52 bomber over the Mediterranean Sea during the Juniper Oak 2023 drill, January 25, 2023. (CENTCOM)

The US Central Command announces that it has wrapped up a major joint drill with the Israeli military this week, dubbed Juniper Oak 2023.

Some 6,400 US troops alongside more than 1,500 Israeli troops, and over 140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels, and artillery systems participated in the exercise, making it the largest-ever joint drill between the nations.

CENTCOM says the drills “enhanced interoperability and the ability of CENTCOM forces to rapidly move combat power into the region.”

“Today the partnership between CENTCOM and the IDF is stronger and continues to grow,” says General Michael Kurilla, the commander of CENTCOM. “Our partnership is a key pillar of our commitment to expanding regional security cooperation,” he adds.

The drill was widely seen as a message to Iran, however, American officials said the live-fire drills did not include mockups of Iranian targets or of any other adversary.

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