American and Israeli air forces on Sunday began week-long joint exercises in southern Israel, simulating dog-fights and bombing targets on the ground, the army said.
Dozens of aircraft are taking part in the exercises in the southern Negev desert, it said.
Army radio said the exercises were taking place in the context of recent discussions between Israel and its main ally on the controversial nuclear programme of the Jewish state’s arch-foe Iran.
But an Israeli military source told AFP that the exercises were “planned two years ago and are not linked to the situation in any country.”
Washington, Israel and many Western countries fear that Iran’s nuclear programme is a guise for developping atomic weapons. Tehran says it is meant for civilian uses only.
Israel, widely believed to be the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East, considers the Islamic Republic its arch-foe after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.