debkafile reports: Thousands of American and Israeli soldiers test new defenses for WMD-capable missiles in reduced-scale joint Negev exercise

IDF sources informed debkafile that the exercise was originally designed on a far larger scale than the current operation ending Tuesday, March 20. But the Americans trimmed it down after the Lebanon war, ruling out Israeli military scenarios and bringing their own reduced format.
The units taking part are, according to debkafile‘s military sources, US Marines, Patriot anti-missile missile crews and special units operating defenses against nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. Israel is fielding its Arrow and Patriot anti-ballistic missiles, its air force, special forces and large armored units.
This year’s operation is testing new ways to deal with missiles capable of carrying nuclear, chemical and biological warheads.
The fourth in the twice-yearly Juniper Cobra series, this is the largest operation ever held in southern Israel’s Negev desert.
A US embassy spokesman in Tel Aviv described it as “a computer simulation exercise designed to test the interoperability of the air defense system. The air defense can protect you,” he said, “against whatever happens to be on the warhead.”
Both sides deny any direct connection to Tehran’s threat and its nuclear program, despite fears that Iran is on the way to developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

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