Israel joins Pakistan, other nations in maritime drill

A US-led maritime exercise including 60 nations and organizations has kicked off in and around Gulf waters with Israel joining for the first time alongside nations that do not recognize it.

The US navy said on Tuesday that the 18-day biennial International Maritime Exercise (IMX) since Monday includes 50 vessels and 9,000 personnel from more than 60 entities.

With more than 80 drones, it is also the world’s largest unmanned drill, it added from Bahrain, where the 5th Fleet is headquartered.

The exercise comes at a time of regional tensions over Iran’s nuclear program and Yemeni forces’ recent targeting of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with missiles and drones.

It includes a number of countries — among them Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Oman and Yemen — that do not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

However, Saudi Arabia and Israel share the same desire to contain their common foe Iran.
Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee tweeted Monday that Israel would “for the first time take part” in the IMX drill.

In November, the UAE and Bahrain launched joint naval exercises with Israel for the first time.


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