Largest US-Israel military drill under way

2012-10-24 23:14
An Israeli fire fighter uses a stretcher to demonstrate an evacuation skill during a drill in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

An Israeli fire fighter uses a stretcher to demonstrate an evacuation skill during a drill in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now

Tel Aviv - The US and Israel simulated rocket attacks during their largest-ever joint military drill on Wednesday, just as as real ones fired from Gaza exploded in southern Israel.

US military officials insisted the joint exercise, called Austere Challenge 2012, was planned long before the latest flare-up between Israel and Hamas-ruled Gaza and a long-running debate over how to deal with Iran, unrelated to specific threats facing Israel.

It comes at a time when Israel and the US have openly debated the merits of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, and as US support for Israel has emerged as a central issue in the upcoming American presidential elections.

In this week's presidential debate, President Barack Obama cited the joint drill, calling it testament to the strong military co-operation between the two countries. Presidential contender Mitt Romney has claimed that the Obama administration has undermined Israel as it faces threats from Iran and Arab countries.

About 1 000 troops brought in from the US are in Israel alongside a similar number of Israeli troops. An additional 2 500 US troops based in Europe and the Mediterranean are participating in the drill. The armies say they are practising their ability to work together to thwart a variety of threats that face Israel. The exercise will continue for about three weeks.

"Make no mistake. The US is 100% committed to the security of Israel. That commitment drives this exercise," said US Air Force Lt Gen Craig Franklin in a news conference at a training site near a beach in the Tel Aviv area.

Reporters were invited to view a large parking lot near the beach where large camouflage-coloured trucks and a Patriot air defence battery launcher were deployed for Wednesday's exercise simulating incoming rockets. In that simulation, Israeli commanders and their American counterparts identified an incoming rocket or enemy aircraft, then American troops pushed the button to activate the anti-missile launcher.

Not far away, Israeli soldiers were operating similar batteries for real, as Gaza militants fired dozens of rockets at southern Israel. The locally made "Iron Dome" system knocked down eight rockets from Gaza, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.

Also this week, US soldiers said they practiced a response to a chemical and biological attack on a joint Israeli-American military convoy. In that exercise, soldiers rubbed a charcoal-like substance to decontaminate the imagined chemical and biological by-products from army vehicles and personnel.

Sgt Gary Sabby, 26, from St Paul, Minnesota, said he played a 47-year-old male suffering a seizure from the attack. He rolled up the sleeve of his camouflaged military fatigues to reveal the pinprick - above a large tattoo of a bear - where soldiers stuck him with an IV needle.

"If something ever did happen, we could come together," said Specialist Brandon Maroney, 23, from Dallas, Texas. "This joint exercise validated that we can work together."

- AP
Read more on:    barack obama  |  israel  |  us  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
97 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.