Israeli Air Force Launches Surprise Combat Exercise on Syria, Lebanon Borders

Israel's Air Force has launched a surprise exercise simulating combat in the country's northern borders with Syria and Lebanon, officials said on Monday.

A military spokesperson said in a statement that the drill, launched on Sunday, simulates combat scenarios in northern Israel and is designed to "improve Air Force readiness for combat in the northern arena."

It tests "all components in the Air Force's core missions, including maintaining aerial superiority, protecting the country's skies, as well as attacking and gathering intelligence," the statement said, as per Xinhua's report.

Israel airstrike targets Iranian assets in Syria
Israel airstrike targets Iranian assets in Syria Screengrab

It will examine the planning, control and execution processes of military combat missions, as well as end-to-end logistics and technological capabilities, "with an emphasis on maintaining aerial freedom of action and full functional continuity," the statement added.

During the exercise, an increased level of military aircrafts, jets and helicopter traffic will be felt across the country, and a number of explosions may be heard in northern Israel, said the spokesperson.

The surprise exercise, dubbed "Vered Hagalil" in Hebrew which means "Rose of the Galilee," is carried out under the directive of the Commanding Officer of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, the military said.

The exercise is expected to end on Wednesday.

Earlier in January, Israel carried out air-raids in Syria, targeting Iranian assets. There were speculations that an all-out covert war may just have been launched against Iran.

Israel carried out the raids based on intelligence shared by US agencies to target Iranian proxies and to cut a route that was being used by the Iranians for smuggling components for their nuclear program.

According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 57 people were killed in the strikes, mostly Iranian proxies in Deir Ezzour, Mayadeen and Al-Boukamal.

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