Pro-Palestine protesters at a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus to denounce Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip, on 21 July 2014. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU)
The main opposition party in Cyprus, Akel, has strongly condemned the Israeli military exercises that took place on the island nation, as reported by the Israeli website Walla!
The military drills, called Chariots of Fire, simulated military attacks on Lebanon and Iran, and were called “a dangerous development for the country” by the Cypriot opposition party Akel, one of the two main parties on the island.
The statement from Akel urged Cyprus to avoid “cooperation with a foreign army and a history of occupation, colonization, war crimes and violation of international laws, all of which remind us of the Turkish occupation in the island.”
A partnership of the Cypriot army and National Guard with Israeli forces do not serve the interests and security of Cyprus, the statement went on to say.
The noise of the military exercises disturbed many and led to repeated complaints by locals in the nearby towns.
The drills took place in coordination with the Cypriot National Guard, as well as the Israeli air force and several of its naval units.
Israeli commando units will carry out military drills on high altitude terrain and urban areas that will act as a substitute for Lebanese territory.
On 1 June, the ambassador of Cyprus to Lebanon denied that military drills by the Israeli occupation forces taking place on the island nation were geared to simulate a war “deep inside” Lebanon.
Ambassador Panayiotis Kyriacou made the statements after being summoned by Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, who asked for clarification about the joint military exercises with Israel.
Kyriacou claimed that the goal of the joint drills is to train Cypriot border guards to defend the island. He also said that his country’s ministry of defense will issue a clarification statement on 2 June.
However, despite the denial by the ambassador, the official announcement by Tel Aviv specifies that the exercise – part of the month-long Chariots of Fire drills – is to test the readiness of the occupation troops “for a variety of threats and scenarios on the battlefield.”
On 31 May, dozens of Israeli Air Force fighter jets conducted air maneuvers over the Mediterranean Sea, simulating airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.
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.
This year’s continuous violations by extremist settlers of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem have led the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance to warn Israel that any existential threat to the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem would trigger unprecedented retaliation and lead to a regional confrontation.
According to Tal Lev-Ram, the military correspondent for the Hebrew newspaper Maariv, in the event of war with Hezbollah, and with 1,500 missiles landing in Israel per day, 300 Israelis are likely to be killed in the first nine days of fighting.