Iran strike on the horizon? Marines train with IDF in Israel

As nuclear talks remain stalled, the drill could be seen as preparation for a possible Israeli strike on the Islamic Republic.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Some 500 U.S. Marines participated in a beach-storming exercise on Tuesday in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, a coastal enclave bordered by the Red Sea, as part of an amphibious naval drill with the IDF.

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command’s (NAVCENT) 5th Fleet, along with the elite 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, will be in the Jewish State for the next two weeks, engaging in infantry live fire, HIMARS live fire, rapid response, and urban combat training.

“This exercise is part of the next chapter in the U.S. Navy’s and Marine Corps’ long-standing relationship with Israel that is so vital to stability and security in the region,” Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan, commander of the Marine task force, said in a statement.

“The troops will take part in a multi-branch exercise for two weeks, in which they will train with counter-terrorism forces, commando forces and expose-attack forces, simulating warfare techniques in open areas and urban environments,” the IDF’s spokesman said in a statement.

The drill marked the first major bilateral exercise since the U.S. military transferred the responsibility for its partnership with the Israeli military from the European Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany, to its outpost in Bahrain.

Before the historic Abraham Accords agreements, which normalized Israel’s relationships with the Gulf Kingdoms of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, the U.S. Central Command’s Gulf branch faced greater challenges coordinating drills with the IDF.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening that he had spoken with his American counterpart, and that the two are committed to continuing cooperation “vis-a-vis Iranian regional entrenchment and its nuclear aspirations.”

As nuclear talks remain stalled, the drill could be seen as preparation for a possible Israeli strike on the Islamic Republic.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has used the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow as an opportunity to brainstorm strategies to stop Iran’s nuclear program with world leaders attending the event.

A government source told Hebrew language media that Bennett had discussed the Iranian threat with French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Army Radio reported that Bennett held “very serious” talks with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the conference, discussing developments in the Iranian nuclear program and the expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.