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Large US-led maritime drill kicks off in Bahrain

IMX International Naval Exercise will last 18 days and include 50 vessels 9,000 personnel and 80 unmanned systems

A large maritime exercise kicked off in Bahrain on Tuesday under the US Navy command, with the participation of 60 countries, including Israel, Anadolu News Agency reports.

"The Middle East region's largest maritime exercise, IMX/CE 2022, commenced 31 January, in the Kingdom of Bahrain," the US Central Command said on Twitter.

"The training will include 9,000 personnel and up to 50 ships from more than 60 partner nations and international organisations operating across two regions," it added.

The US-led maritime exercise will last till 17 February.

"The joint exercise aims to increase the capabilities and strengthen the relations of the participating countries' naval forces to benefit international order and peace," Commander of the US Fifth Fleet, Charles Cooper, said in statements cited by the Bahraini state news agency, BNA.

Israel confirmed its participation in the maritime exercise in Bahrain.

"For the first time, our Flotilla 3 and Underwater Warfare Unit will train with the US Fifth Fleet in the Red Sea. We look forward to strengthening security and global cooperation," the Israeli army said in a statement.

Bahrain has long been home to the US Fifth Fleet, whose area of operations includes the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.

One of the fleet's primary tasks is securing the transport of oil shipments through the region amid continued tension with Iran.

READ: Israel signs multi-billion dollar deal for submarines from Germany

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