World / Middle East

Dempsey arrives in Israel to oversee joint drill

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-10-29 10:18

JERUSALEM - The US chairman of joint chiefs of staff, General Martin Dempsey, arrived in Israel on Sunday to oversee the largest joint Israel-US air defense drill of its kind, which is currently underway.

Dempsey met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the two discussed the exercise and regional issues, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Barak was quoted as saying after the meeting that the security ties between the US and Israel "are deep and strong in a way they haven't been for many years in the past".

On Monday, Dempsey and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz are expected to tour areas where the missile defense drill is being held. The majority of the exercise, named Austere Challenge 2012, involves the computer simulation of long and medium-range missile attacks on the Israeli homefront, and their interception.

The exercise, which started on Oct 21, will end with a live-fire interception of an incoming missile by a Patriot air defense battery.

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