Exercise comes as nuclear talks start in Geneva, and days after military released footage of long-range training
By Lazar Berman October 15, 2013
As talks over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program began in Geneva, Israel delivered another not-so-subtle message to Iran about its military capabilities Monday night.
The Israeli Air Force conducted an unusually large exercise over the northern border and the Mediterranean Sea overnight. Military sources confirmed the exercise Tuesday morning.
“Recently, changes have taken place across the region,” a national security official told the Walla news site. “The IDF is deployed both near and far for these changes, and last night’s exercise was meant to signal the IDF’s serious intentions to deal with these problems and thwart them.”
The exercise comes after a similar announcement last Thursday saying the IAF had conducted a series of drills in which fighter aircraft practiced a simulated strike on a distant target.
Those flights included midair refueling, exceptionally long-distance coordinated strikes, and dogfights, and were carried out over Greek waters. The video of the exercises released Thursday by the IAF marked the first time the military had made such a clip publicly available, according to Channel 10 news.
“When talking about ‘all options on the table, it’s understood that these include military options,” the air force website wrote then. ”The IAF, the long arm of the IDF, is responsible for exercising the option if need be. To this end, soldiers in the squadrons of the force practice and reinforce the spectrum of skills, even in long-range flight. In this area of flying, the IAF must develop relevant operational capabilities, from focused activities to broader activities.”
Netanyahu is expected to give a speech Tuesday afternoon in which he will deliver a “diplomatic message” likely aimed at Iran, a source close to the prime minister said.