Israeli forces and US Marines kicked off on Thursday preparations for next week’s biannual military drills.
The Marines began installing large air defense batteries throughout Israel as part of the Juniper Cobra military exercise.
The drills will focus on countering a comprehensive war against Israel waged on various fronts, such as Gaza in the South, Lebanon and Syria in the North, and even Iran.
The military exercises are taking place amid heightened tensions between Lebanon and Israel over Iran’s influence in the country and its backing of the “Hezbollah” group, as well as Beirut’s intention to go ahead with oil and gas exploration near its maritime border with Israel.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had on Wednesday said the Lebanese army will be targeted and "if citizens of Tel Aviv are forced to sit in shelters, all of Beirut will too."
“As far as I’m concerned, all of Lebanon - the Lebanese army, Lebanon and the Lebanese army - are no different from ‘Hezbollah’,” he said. “They are part of ‘Hezbollah’ and they will all pay the full price” for any large-scale attack on Israel.
The Israeli military had prepared a document on its strategy for the next five years in which it said that a war with Iran and “Hezbollah” was the most likely to happen, while a war erupting with the Palestinians was the second most likely.