The Israeli military on Saturday carried out maneuvers in a terrain that resembles south Lebanon as part of exercises on the occupied Palestinian territories’ borders with Lebanon and Syria.
The maneuvers were the first of their kind. Israeli TV channels showed parts of the exercises in which occupation soldiers engaged in street battles with “Hezbollah”.
TV footage also showed U.S. marines participating in the drills with their Israeli counterparts.
U.S. military aid to Israel has increased markedly this year. Top-ranking U.S. and Israeli soldiers have shuttled between Tel Aviv and Washington with unusual frequency in recent months. A series of joint military exercises in Israel over the past months has included a record number of American troops.
This month, about 200 U.S. Marines joined a battalion of Israeli soldiers for an all-night march through the Negev desert, the culmination of three weeks of joint drills. As dawn approached, they crept up on a mock village, an Israeli military-built recreation of a typical Palestinian hamlet, used for combat training, Wall Street Journal reported.
Behind a dune on the village’s edge, a U.S. Marine company commander conferred with his Israeli counterpart before the two barked orders to soldiers scattered behind them. As dawn gave way to the Negev desert’s grinding August heat, the forces battled house-to-house in mock battle, as Israeli and Marine generals watched on from the sidelines, the report said.
The exercise was the biggest U.S.-Israeli joint infantry exercise ever, according to officials. By comparison, at the same exercise last year, there were only around 20 U.S. Marines involved. In the fall, there will be an even bigger joint infantry exercise involving tanks and armored vehicles, WSJ quoted officials as saying.