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Israel to simulate attack on Iran in large-scale military drill with US 

Israeli tanks are seen in action during a military drill in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights on December 7, 2021 [JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli tanks are seen in action during a military drill on December 7, 2021 [JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images]

The Israeli military is to take part in a large-scale military exercise later this month called "Chariots of Fire", according to an announcement yesterday.

Part of the drill will include an "Iran aerial exercise" which is scheduled to take place in the final week of the month-long drill and will simulate a wide-ranging regional conflict, Israeli officials said.

Thousands of soldiers and reservists will take part in the exercises, involving all commands, the air force and navy, which aims to improve the readiness of Israel's armed forces against a multiple fronts attack simultaneously. The drill – dubbed the biggest Israeli army drill in 30 years -was suspended last year amid escalating tensions at the time in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

The US Air Force's refuelling planes will also participate in the exercise, according to Israel's Channel 13. A statement by the Israeli military also confirmed that CENTCOM commander General Michael Kurilla arrived in Israel yesterday to observe the exercise.

Both countries have expressed concern over Iran's nuclear programme, amid stalled negotiations. Yesterday, the US said a deal with Tehran was "far from certain", while Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz warned that Iran was just a "few weeks" away from accumulating sufficient fissile material necessary for a bomb.

Israel's military is also preparing for the possibility that Iran's allies in Yemen, Syria and Iraq could target Israeli territory with missiles or drones. The military will also continue to conduct military exercises within Israel's borders, faced with internal threats from resistance factions. Yesterday, the army called off a planned military exercise in the northern Arab city of Umm Al-Fahm, in response to the city's mayor requests.

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