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Islamic countries join Israeli Navy in the world’s largest naval exercise

Israeli navy [file photo]
An Israeli Navy ship seen near the Gaza coast [file photo]

Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that “the Israeli navy participated in the world’s largest maritime exercise alongside Islamic countries”.

The military expert Yoav Zitun stated on Saturday that “this exercise, known as RIMPAC is the largest on a global level. It is held to simulate the takeover of a sensitive water crossing by hostile forces similar to Iran’s threats to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Zitun added that RIMPAC 2018 included 25 thousand participants from 26 countries, 47 warships, 200 aircraft, and five submarines. The training took place in the Pacific Ocean around Hawaii.

He pointed out that it is the first time Israel participated with a delegation representing its navy. 

The expert demonstrated that this exercise has been held every two years since the 1970s and joined new participant countries in each session, noting that the training lasted a month and ended two weeks ago.

He added: “Officers from countries that do not have official diplomatic relations with Israel, including Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, as well as Vietnam and Sri Lanka, participated side by side with Israeli officers”.

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Zitun said that the Israeli participation was limited in the management of the manoeuvre through the command and control room at the US military, naval station in Pearl Harbour.

He explained that “the exercise was based on simulating hostile forces carrying out their threat to close internationally prominent naval straits. The crews were divided into ten large combat teams, aimed at destroying hostile troops that took control of two out of five islands adjacent to Hawaii.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, some senior Israeli generals such as Idan Ben Moshe, Commander of naval vessels, and the Naval Attaché in Washington, Gen. Amir Gutman, and Maj. Ran Steigman of the Israeli Navy participated.

Steigman was quoted saying: “We have worked with officers from the United States, Germany, Chile, Peru, Australia, Brunei, and Singapore as well as Thailand, and we have had significant training”.

He added: “They appreciated the efforts of the Israeli Navy and its achievements since the Six-Day War in 1967. We agreed that the Israeli delegation participating in the next training would be a larger one. The Americans requested that we send naval combat equipment, ground forces, and rescue crews”.

Steigman drew attention claiming: “We have seen ships manufactured by the military Israeli industries used by armies of Latin American countries, although Israel is overlooking the Mediterranean and not the Pacific, the sea is the sea.”

The Major added: “It was not the first time I have met with officers from Islamic countries with whom we have no official diplomatic relations, such as Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia. During my military studies in the United States, I have had several acquaintances with officers from Arab countries.”

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