Israel to send fighter jets for joint exercises in the US

In shadow of Iranian nuclear program, the two militaries will also hold massive air defense drill in Israel at end of summer; joint search and rescue operations conducted here Tuesday

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

The Israel Air Force is soon to send fighter jets to take part in joint military exercises in the US,Channel 2 reported on Tuesday night. The IAF has not trained in the US for several years, the report said.

The exercises, to be held in the coming months, will strengthen the relationship between the IAF and the US Air Force as they practice carrying out joint operations, according to the report.

Israeli and US air defense forces, meanwhile, will together take part in a major drill later this summer in Israel to simulate a massive attack, the TV report added. The exercises will create a common language between the militaries that will enable them to assist one another in the event of an emergency. Thousands of US soldiers are expected to arrive in Israel for the drills, the report said.

The news item was broadcast amid ongoing concern in Israel and the US over Iran’s drive toward nuclear weapons capability. Israel’s leaders have said Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear, and indicated that they are contemplating military intervention if all other efforts to thwart Iran fail. US President Barack Obama has said Iran must not get the bomb, and ruled out the notion of containment, but has urged patience to give economic sanctions and other pressure more time to work.

In Israel on Tuesday, American National Guard and Israeli Home Front Command forces conducted search and rescue drills. The operations would be applicable in the case of either an earthquake or a missile barrage, officials said. If there were a major aerial missile attack or a large enough earthquake in Israel, US forces might assist in search and rescue operations.

The two militaries drilled search and rescue coordination and cooperation, locating victims trapped under rubble, and the use of advanced technology.

Maj. Gen. Davis Harris, Head of the Operational Division of the US National Guard, participated in the drill and told Channel 2, “We would respond to Israel’s aid as we have done to other countries and I believe that Israel, as they did in Haiti, would respond to the US if we needed help, especially with search and rescue — because it’s such a limited skill set. There’s not a lot of them in the world with this kind of capability, and in a large-scale disaster you would need all the help that you could get.”

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