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Israel, U.S. to start joint air defense exercises

RIA Novosti

17:16 20/10/2009 TEL AVIV, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Israel and the United States will start large-scale joint air defense drills on Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported Tuesday.

The Juniper Cobra 10 maneuvers, to involve 1,000 servicemen from each country, are being held for the fifth time. Despite recent tensions with Iran over its nuclear program, the IDF said the drills were "not a response to any world events."

Iran is suspected by the West of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, but says it needs nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.

The biennial exercises will take place in Israel until November 5.

Israeli media have said the U.S. Aegis, THAAD and Patriot air defense systems, as well as Israel's Arrow, will be employed in the drills.

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