In the middle of a tense situation vis à vis both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, U.S. forces are in Israel to take part in a five-day joint missile defense exercise.
The biennial Juniper Cobra operation this year will simulate missile barrages on multiple fronts, held by the Israeli air force with units from the U.S. Army European Command (EUCOM).
“Such exercises are part of a long-term strategy and part of the ongoing cooperation between the IDF and the U.S. military,” read the statement by the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit.
Although officials have stressed that war is unlikely to break out at this time, a minor incident on either border could trigger a serious escalation.
Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that in the event of war with Hezbollah, Beirut would “pay the full price,” as the Lebanese army and Hezbollah “are one in the same.”
“We won’t allow pictures like those in 2006 where citizens in Beirut were on the beach while Israelis in Tel Aviv sat in shelters. If people are in shelters in Tel Aviv, all of Beirut will be in shelters,” Liberman said.