Israeli air force commander B.G Tzvika Haimovich (R), and American 3rd Air Force Commander, Lt. Gen Timothy Ray ©AFP
Israel and the United States have reportedly staged a joint secret war game in southern Israel amid growing military cooperation between the two sides.
Israeli media said on Thursday that the drill dubbed ‘Noble Shirley’ was held in Negev Desert to improve cooperation between American and Israeli forces.
The drill, which was said to have been conducted during day and nighttime hours over the past week, involved the US Marine Corps as well as special units from the Israeli air, naval and ground forces.
During the exercise, the troops and commandos took part in drills simulating helicopter landings behind enemy lines, and urban warfare above and below ground. They also practiced close-range combat and military takeover techniques.
Israel’s so-called ‘David’s Sling’ missile system, which targets medium to long-range missiles, was also used in the maneuver.
Moreover, forces also simulated both night-time and day-time combat situations at the Ze’elim training facility, which was built to look exactly like a Palestinian city.
The drill comes some three weeks after Israel’s ministry of military affairs and the US Missile Defense Agency completed a test aimed at ensuring Israeli and American missile systems can operate cooperatively in a future war.
During the trial, the physical connectivity between the systems was tested. The test involved sites scattered around the United States, Europe and Israel.
Elisra Group, which is an Israeli manufacturer of high-tech electronic, led the trial, which was designed to see if Israel’s David’s Sling and Arrow systems could link up with American systems.
Also in February, the US and Israel held joint ‘Juniper Cobra’ exercise in Israel. The drill is held every two years between United States’ European Command and the Israeli military.
Israeli and US authorities claim that growing military cooperation is aimed at countering terrorism. However, critics blame the US and its closest ally Israel for pursuing a vicious agenda amid ongoing militancy in the Mideast region.
‘Safe zone’ in Syria
Meanwhile, Kamal al-Labwani, a Syrian opposition figure with strong ties to Israel, has confirmed an increased interest in the creation of a so-called safe zone in southern Syria.
On July 11, the Israeli army deployed several bulldozers and a tank 300 meters (328 yards) inside Syrian territory in Quneitra and began digging, threatening to shoot anyone who approached them.
According to Labwani, the zone is supposed to run 10 kilometers deep into Syrian territory and approximately 20 kilometers along the Syrian border.
The developments come as Damascus government says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri militant groups operating inside the Arab country.
The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
Reports say Tel Aviv has set up field hospitals in the Israeli-occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights for the treatment of injured militants.
In December 2015, Daily Mail said the Israeli regime had saved the lives over 2,000 Takfiri militants at the cost of around USD 13 million since 2013.
Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 Six-Day War and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.