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US, Israeli navies hold joint Med drills

08-20-2012 10:12 BJT

JERUSALEM - Israeli and the US naval counterparts spent the last week holding a joint search-and-rescue exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, which included live fire and seaborne helicopters landings.

The "Reliant Mermaid" drill also tested the US Navy's destroyer-mounted Aegis-missile defense system, which, theoretically, could defend Israel against Iranian missiles.

However, the Americans were quick to point out that the annual drill - which, while not held for the last three years - was unconnected with the escalating psychological war of nerves between Israel and Iran.

"Reliant Mermaid is a regularly scheduled exercise and is not associated with, or a reaction to any real world events," a Navy Public Affairs Office spokesman said.

Between 2000 and 2009, this type of exercise was conducted annually, with another participant - the Turkish navy.

However, the drill was postponed following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, in which Israeli commandos battled and killed nine armed Turkish protesters, who were trying to break a maritime blockade over the Gaza Strip.

Both parties, however, summarized the drill as a success and said it bettered military ties between the countries' navies.

"This was a successful exercise which strengthened the bonds between the USand Israeli navies and increased our ability to work together as a team," said American Commanding Officer David A. Bretz.

"It was really great to get to see the differences between our navy and the US," Israeli Navy Cpl Niv Bar-Ilan told The Jerusalem Post.

Lauding his American swabbie counterparts, Bar-Ilan said, "We' re very appreciative of the crew's hospitality and thank them for teaching us their individual jobs on board."


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source:

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