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Strategic interest for Cyprus - IAF simulated war with Hezbollah - F-16s, Apache & cruisers deployed

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) used an exercise in Cyprus in May to simulate combat against the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, as well as the deployment of F-16 fighter jets from an unknown airport.

According to the authoritative military intelligence agency Janes, the "Blue Sun" exercise, conducted with the Cyprus National Guard from May 7 to 11, involved Super King Air intelligence-gathering aircraft from the IAF's 100th Squadron, F-16s from two different squadrons and Apache attack helicopters deployed in Cyprus, as well as visits by C-130 transport aircraft carrying members of the elite Maglan unit, part of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Commando Brigade.

Lt. Y (whose name is withheld), a pilot from the 100 Squadron who was in charge of the exercise, told Janes that the forested mountains of Cyprus provided unfamiliar terrain that served as a good backdrop for a simulated conflict exercise in a "northern arena," a term the IDF uses to describe Lebanon.

The Israeli exercise involved a "large number" of training flights simulating "complex scenarios" deep inside enemy territory, the IDF said. Israel and Cyprus have held several joint military exercises in recent years.

As we wrote in the Pentagon, Israel is in a state of turmoil due to the real threat of attacks by Hezbollah in Lebanon, which after the second round of Turkish elections achieved representation in parliament, entering through Turkish representatives into the "joints of power" of the Erdogan regime.

The day before yesterday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galad paid a visit to the Northern Command as part of the "Firm Hand" military exercise.

During the visit, he conducted an on-site assessment of the situation together with senior Israeli army officials who are on standby for all eventualities.

Because offensive military actions are not announced in advance, the Israeli army has been on heightened alert for days, while the Israel Defense Forces successfully tested the naval version of the Iron Dome system against multiple attacks a few days ago, sending a clear message to Erdogan-Hezbollah after the Turkish president's recent election victory amid rumors of a possible strike on Israel.

With the Firm Hand exercise, Israel has blocked half of Nicosia's FIR for an exercise targeting Iran. A military source said the exercise will involve carrying out simulated "strategic" strikes deep into enemy territory in a full war scenario and the Navy will perform mock offensive and defensive actions.

According to the Israeli military, the exercise was pre-planned, meaning it did not result from recent security assessments. The Israel Defense Forces General Staff warned that there would be a significant increase in the presence of security forces and aircraft across the country during the exercise.

As Pentapostama reveals, this exercise was not limited to Israel alone as almost the entire southern FIR of Nicosia was committed to simulate long-range operations for the purposes of the Israeli exercise.

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