The Israeli Defense Forces are currently involved in the largest military drill in the country’s history, part of which is designed to simulate an airstrike against Iran.
The U.S. is reportedly participating in the exercise with the midair refueling of Israeli fighter jets that would conduct the strike, according to The Times of Israel.
The month-long military drill — involving land, sea and air forces — has been dubbed Chariots of Fire.
🔥 ‘CHARIOTS OF FIRE’🔥
We have just begun our largest military exercise in decades.
Soldiers from every part of the IDF will train together over the next month to increase our defensive readiness and preparedness—on land, in the air, at sea and in cyberspace.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 9, 2022
“The IDF will simulate striking targets far from Israel’s borders with a large number of planes,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
While fighter jets are practicing for strikes against Iran, Israeli ground forces will train to secure the nation’s borders against foreign invaders.
On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz went to observe Chariots of Fire.
Do you think Israel will launch an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities?
He said the IDF is “preparing for various scenarios against our enemies in the various theaters and against Hezbollah and Hamas, which also operates from Lebanon,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“The combination of training, operational activity and strengthening civil resilience makes up our complete paradigm of protecting the North and the entire State of Israel,” Gantz said.
According to The Times of Israel, U.S. participation in the exercise is intended to underscore the American military’s presence in the region in the context of talks over Iran’s nuclear program.
“The unprecedented Israel-US aerial collaboration in a drill simulating a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities is seen as a potential message to Iran amid long-stalled negotiations in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, a possibility Israel has repeatedly voiced its objection to, warning it would lead to ‘a more violent, more volatile Middle East,’” the news outlet reported.
US to refuel Israeli warplanes during massive drill simulating Iran attack: The Israeli drill – dubbed Chariots of Fire –will simulate striking targets far from Israel’s borders with a large number of planes while simultaneously acquiring new… https://t.co/eFvjFDk9eY JPost pic.twitter.com/jILJqhMjRd
— Jewish Community (@JComm_NewsFeeds) May 18, 2022
Gen. Michael Kurilla — head of the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for operations in the Middle East — arrived in Israel on Tuesday for his first official visit.
He will be observing the Chariots of Fire exercise, according to a post on the IDF’s official Twitter account.
LTG Aviv Kohavi and the IDF General Staff Forum led an honor guard to receive the new @CENTCOM Commander, General Michael Kurilla, this morning.
As part of his visit, the General will observe the IDF’s “Chariots of Fire” Exercise. pic.twitter.com/uMgSxJC2PR
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 18, 2022
Axios reported the “Iran aerial exercise” will take place as part of the fourth week of the drill.
“U.S. air force refueling planes are expected to take part in this part of the exercise, Israel’s Channel 13 reported. Israeli officials confirmed that there will be U.S. participation, but they didn’t give any details. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report,” according to Axios.
Gantz was slated to arrive in Washington on Wednesday to speak with White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and on Thursday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Axios reported.