American transport planes landed in Israel Tuesday evening, bringing US Air Force troops and equipment to attend a personal follow-up to an air defense exercise, practically held earlier this year, the US Air Force said.
In February, the Israel Defense Forces and the US European Command (EUCOM) launched Exercise Juniper Falcon to simulate the threat of ballistic missile attacks. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of the exercise was held remotely, with IDF troops operating in Israel and US soldiers in Germany, where EUCOM is based.
“This long-planned event is a continuation of [Juniper Falcon 21], which took place earlier this year, “said the US Air Forces in Europe and Africa in a statement.
The exercise is designed to “test simulated emergency response procedures, ballistic missile defense and crisis response assistance in defending Israel,” the statement said.
The IDF did not immediately comment on the exercise.
The threat of missile attacks is particularly acute in Israel as these weapons are primarily used by the country’s enemies. In total, an estimated hundreds of thousands of missiles, missiles and mortar shells are in the hands of terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, in addition to the more advanced ballistic and cruise missiles held by Iranian agents in Yemen and Iraq.
Last week, the IDF released updated intelligence assessments of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah, which showed the organization had between 130,000 and 150,000 missiles and missiles in its arsenals and would be able to deploy around 3,000 projectiles each day for at least a month Firing Israel week in a future conflict.
“Planning for [the exercise] began in 2020, and while the exercise is driven by overall Middle East dynamics, it is not a response to current developments or specific real-world events, “the US Air Force said.
The Juniper Falcon exercise has been held roughly every two years by the IDF and EUCOM in Israel since 2001. This year’s exercise gained added importance and both took place 30 years after the first case of Israeli-US air defense cooperation in 1991 Gulf War, when US air defense batteries were deployed in Israel to protect the country from Iraqi Scud missile attacks, and after the announcement of the US military to move Israel from EUCOM’s jurisdiction to the Middle East-focused Central Command (CENTCOM).