Israeli, U.S. troops test launch Patriot missiles

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli and United States Army troops launched four Patriot missiles at decoy enemy missiles over the Mediterranean Sea.

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Monday’s launches were the last stage of Austere Challenge 12, which began last month, a training exercise designed to increase military cooperation between the United States and Israel. The three-week exercise which involves more than 2,500 American service personnel and 1,000 Israeli soldiers is considered the largest joint exercise between the two countries ever.

The missiles were launched from Palmachim Air Force base in central Israel, located south of Tel Aviv.

“We can see here the Patriots in the background and we can see the success of this exercise.  At the same time we are actually fighting with our newest system, the ‘Iron Dome’ system; protecting against short-range missiles coming out of Gaza, on a daily basis these days.  We hope that it [this escalation] will be over quickly without a need to broaden it or intensify it,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at the Palmachim base.

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