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Israel, U.S., Complete Major Joint Military Exercise to Prep for Ballistic Missile Warfare

The United States and Israeli militaries completed a joint exercise on Thursday, code-named Juniper Falcon, which tested coordination capabilities between the two countries in the event of a ballistic missile threat against Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

As part of the exercise, some 400 IDF troops from various units – including the Air Defense Array, the Operations Directorate, the Navy, logistical units, and medical forces – were joined by some 300 Americans from the United States European Command (USEUCOM).

Juniper Falcon focused on scenarios that would result in a massive missile attack on Israel from Lebanon, Iran, Syria, or Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Iraq. The American role was to help provide air defenses and collaboration at the command level and saw troops train in several locations, including Hatzor Air Force Base and the IDF headquarters.

Preparations for the drill began 18 months ago. The training was similar to the Juniper Cobra exercises that take place biennially.

Watch a video of the exercise below (via the IDF):

Brig.-Gen. Erez Maisel, the head of the Israel Defense Forces’ Foreign Relations Division, told the Post that the drill focused on the “three Cs: common language, confidence and capabilities” of troops to enable the maximum protection of Israel.

These sorts of exercises “provide the glue” that strengthens “the bond between the United States and Israel,” noted Lt.-Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, deputy commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa.

Harrigian added that the IDF “is a very disciplined force” and that the trust and confidence between the two allied nations has “facilitated the ability for American troops to easily come here during times of emergency.”

The IDF stressed in a statement that the joint drill was part of the army’s standard training schedule with the Americans, which has been occurring every two years since 2001. However, the drill came amid a war of words between Israel and Iran, as well as Hezbollah, Tehran’s proxy in Lebanon.

At a celebration of the 40th anniversary of his nation’s Islamic revolution, a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) threatened the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa with destruction.

The same week, it emerged that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, which exercises complete political and military control over Lebanon, appears to have threatened to attack Israeli passenger flights and popular tourist destinations in the Jewish State.

[Photo: IDF]