U.S. military deploys THAAD in "rare" joint air exercise with Israeli army

Huang Panyue

A U.S. Army Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD) weapon system is seen on Andersen Air Force Base, in Guam, on Oct. 26, 2017. (Reuters File photo)

JERUSALEM, March 5 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli military announced on Monday that it had begun a "rare" military exercise with U.S. forces focusing on air defense.

As part of the exercise, the U.S. military deployed its Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense (THAAD), an anti-ballistic missile defense system, in Israel.

This is the first time the THAAD system has been stationed in Israel.

According to Jonathan Conricus, head of the International Media Branch at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Unit, the U.S. system will be deployed in southern Israel.

"The purpose is to enhance our cooperation with the United States and to strengthen the ability to defend Israeli airspace," Conricus told reporters during a briefing.

According to Conricus, 200 U.S. troops have been deployed in Israel as part of the exercise. They belong to the U.S. European Command.

"The exercise is not related to any specific event," he added.

Israel relies mostly on its own systems to intercept missiles.


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