In signal to Iran, US and Israeli forces to stage drill
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States and Israel are set to launch a major military exercise in a show of unity aimed at Iran, despite friction between American and Israeli leaders over how to counter Teheran's nuclear ambitions.
The air defense drills, dubbed "Austere Challenge 2012," will unfold later this month and last about three weeks, with 3,500 US troops and 1,000 Israeli forces taking part, officers said on Wednesday.
"This is the largest exercise in the history of the longstanding military relationship between the US and Israel," said Lieutenant General Craig Franklin, 3rd Air Force Commander, who is overseeing the drill along with his Israeli counterpart, Brigadier General Nitzan Nuriel.
"This exercise will improve the cooperative missile defense of Israel and will promote regional stability and help ensure a military edge," Lt Gen Franklin told reporters in a teleconference.