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Top U.S. commander pledges U.S. support for Israel's security

(Xinhua)    14:54, March 12, 2018

JERUSALEM, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Commander of the U.S. Forces in Europe Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti underlined on Sunday U.S. support for Israel in case of war in a joint large-scale military exercise in Israel.

The remark was made during a meeting between Scaparrotti and Israel's Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the military's headquarters in Tel Aviv.

"The U.S. is deeply committed to the defense of Israel," Scaparrotti said, according to a statement released by the Israeli military's spokesperson unit.

"We will continue to work alongside the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to promote stability throughout the region, not only for the purposes of this exercise, but in the event of any real-world contingency," he said.

Eizenkot remarked that Scaparrotti's visit, part of the "Juniper Cobra 2018" joint drill, "proves once again the commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel."

The month-long exercise is the ninth time that the militaries of the two close allies have trained together in the biennial Juniper Cobra exercise.

"This training is intended to improve our ability to defend against missile and rocket threats and to advance the capabilities of both forces against various threats," Eizenkot said.

The exercise was launched last Sunday.

As part of the exercise, some 2,500 U.S. troops who are routinely based in Europe were deployed in Israel and about 2,000 Israeli Aerial Defense troops, logistics units, medical forces and other IDF units.

A military notice released last week said that the participating forces are performing together computerized simulations of a variety of rocket threat scenarios in different regions of Israel.

The simulations include testing of the anti-ballistic missile system Arrow, Iron Dome anti-rocket system, the medium-range interceptor Patriot missile system, and David's Sling, which was designed to intercept medium-range missile from southern Lebanon's Hezbollah militants and became operational in April 2017.

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