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US and Israel kick off Juniper Cobra missile defense exercises

The joint U.S.-Israel ‘Juniper Cobra’ military exercise has begun, with almost 4,000 personnel participating in a simulated massive missile attack on Israel during the 12-day drill.

The 2018 iteration of the Juniper Cobra missile defense exercise began on Sunday. The U.S. Department of Defense said last week that 2,500 U.S. personnel from European Command would join the biennial drill from March 4-15.

The Israel Defense Forces said 1,400 Israeli Aerial Defense troops, logistics units, medical forces, and additional IDF units would participate, making this the largest joint EUCOM-IDF exercise this year.

This year’s land and naval drill simulates missile attacks on Israel from Gaza and the northern border with Lebanon, Jordan’s Petra news agency reported on Sunday.

“During the course of the exercise, limited numbers of U.S. forces will be temporarily deployed to a number of locations throughout Israel in the vicinity of civilian population areas,” EUCOM said on February 22. “Troop movements and other activities may be noticed by the civilian population.”

U.S. personnel began arriving in Israel in February and some will remain through March for additional training exercises, EUCOM said.

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