The US and Israel conduct a missile defense system test in Alaska. (Photo credit: Israel’s Ministry of Defense/Twitter)
The Israeli air force have begun conducting military drills simulating widescale strikes against Iran and, in particular, its nuclear facilities.
The drills, which began on the night of 31 May, included “long-range flight, aerial refueling, and striking distant targets,” according to an Israeli armed forces statement issued on 1 June.
All branches of the Israeli armed forces are participating in the so-called Chariots of Fire military exercises simulating a multi-front war.
The exercises will simulate an invasion of Lebanon, and are taking place in Cyprus, which has a similar terrain to Lebanon.
The drills estimate that 1,500 missiles launched by Hezbollah will land in Israel per day and that 300 Israelis are likely to be killed in the first nine days of fighting. Additionally, Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Unit will cross into northern occupied Palestine and fight occupation troops outside Lebanon’s borders.
The drills which also simulate an attack on Iran will involve joint exercises with US armed forces.
The head of the US Central Command, Michael Kurilla, arrived in Israel on 17 May to participate in the exercise. He will receive an update on war scenarios and a simulation of the deployment of US forces in Israel. The practice of precision missile launches will also take place, according to the Times of Israel.
Tel Aviv has been increasing tensions on Tehran, due to Tehran’s support for armed resistance groups in Palestine and Lebanon, which have gained strength in recent years.
Israel suffered a massive military defeat in May 2021 following the Sayf al Quds battle, which saw daily retaliatory strikes launched from Gaza, including into Tel Aviv.
An unnamed Iranian source has revealed to Al Jazeera that Tehran informed Tel Aviv on 21 April that the locations of all Israel’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons sites were known to Iran, and that in the event of an attack by Israel on Iran, these sites would be targeted.
The cable was sent through European intermediaries and included a map showcasing where all the targets were located.
On 18 April, Iranian President Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi also issued a general warning that any Israeli aggression against the Islamic Republic would result in Iran striking into the heart of Israeli occupied lands and military bases.
“Just know that if the slightest move on your part occurs against our nation, our armed forces will target the center of the Zionist regime, and the power of our armed forces will not leave you at rest,” Raisi said.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) chief commander Hossein Salami announced on 30 May that Israel was behind the assassination of IRGC colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, who was killed outside his home by gunmen on motorcycles on 22 May.
“Khodaei was killed by the most vicious people, the Zionists, and God willing, we will take revenge for [his assassination],” Salami said.
Iran released footage of a new secret underground drone base on 28 May amid rising threats from the US and Israel.