On Tuesday night, Israeli warplanes simulated a large-scale attack on Iran over the Mediterranean Sea as part of Israel’s massive Chariots of Fire military exercises.
According to Israel’s Channel 13, over 100 aircraft participated in the simulated attack. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said the exercise “long-range flight, aerial refueling and striking distant targets.”
Earlier reports said the US Air Force would join the exercise with refueling planes, but the IDF wouldn’t confirm if Washington participated, and US Central Command (CENTCOM) denied involvement. “There is no direct US military involvement in that exercise,” CENTCOM said.
The provocative drill comes amid soaring tensions between Israel and Iran. Last week, a senior official in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was gunned down in Tehran, and Israel reportedly told the US it was behind the assassination.
A few days after the assassination, a drone strike hit an Iranian military facility outside of Tehran, killing an Iranian engineer. No one has taken responsibility, but Israel is suspected due to its history of launching similar attacks inside Iran.
Tensions are also high between the US and Iran since talks to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, have been stalled. Israel has been pressuring the Biden administration not to revive the JCPOA, and its apparent attacks on Iran could have been an effort to end the negotiations for good.