Friday, April 22, 2005
Marines disembark in Israel
Hundreds of US Marines riding hovercrafts stormed ashore the beaches of Nitzanim Wednesday as part of joint maneuvers being quietly held between the US and Israeli militaries.
The Marines simulated an armed assault from the sea while IDF forces maneuvered inland until the two forces met.
Military sources said the operation was code named "Kaya Green." Troops were delivered by LCVs (hovercrafts) which also unloaded Humvees.
The Marines of the Sixth Fleet specialize in extraction operations to evacuate US personnel and conduct such exercises periodically in Israel.
"These are highly specialized operations that require constant training," said a source familiar with the maneuvers.
The IDF refused to release more details in keeping with a policy dictated by the United States to minimize reports of Israeli-US military cooperation.
The IDF Spokesman issued a laconic statement saying only that the exercise was with the US Sixth Fleet and "part of the on-going cooperation between the two armies."
But military sources said the joint exercise was being spearheaded on the IDF side by the Ground Forces Services. Soldiers participating on the Israeli side included troops from the IDF's non-commissioned officers' course. The exercise also apparently involved a large convoy of US military vehicles moving along the coast.