Iran, Israel intimidate each other with drills
REUTERS photoIran launched an air defense exercise yesterday that aimed to send a “strong warning” to those threatening the country with military strikes, a general said in an apparent message to Israel and the United States who have been holding a joint drill in the region since September.
The start of Tehran’s maneuvers, originally scheduled for early October but postponed without an official explanation, was announced on the website of the Revolutionary Guards, sepahnews.com.
Some 8,000 troops drawn from the ranks of the Guards, the army and the Basij militia are participating in the drill, which will span four days and cover an area stretching 850,000 square kilometers in Iran’s eastern regions, according to media reports.
Various missile and artillery systems as well as fighter jets and bombers will be used in the exercise, according to Agence France-Presse. The units will also test “fixed, mobile and tactical radar devices and tactical and airborne electronic surveillance systems,” according to Brigadier Gen. Farzad Esmaili, head of the Guards’ air defense command.
“These drills convey a message of peace and security to regional countries,” Shahrokh Shahram, the spokesman for the exercises, told the broadcaster. “At the same time they send out a strong warning to those threatening Iran.”
The Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) said yesterday that F-4, F-5, F-7, and F-14 fighters would participate. Shahram told IRNA on Nov. 11 the drills would also focus on improving coordination between Iran’s military and the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Tehran’s military exercise came after a three-week drill being held in the region by Israeli, and U.S. armies since the end of September. Israeli and U.S. armies launched four Patriot missiles as part of a joint drill yesterday, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. The missiles were launched from the Palmachim Air Force base in central Israel, near the cities of Rishon Letzion and Yavne.
The two militaries were set to further carry out similar launches as part of the drill, simulating the interception of aircraft or missiles penetrating Israeli air space. The ongoing drill is considered the largest joint exercise ever carried out by the two countries.
The drill is meant to simulate an extensive war in the Middle East that would require the U.S. to intervene and provide Israel with further defense to intercept missiles, daily Haaretz reported. The batteries for the Patriot Pac-3, the most advanced model of the American-made missile, will be stationed across Israel during the course of the joint drill.