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Cyprus and Israel plan their largest-ever military exercise

The largest land-based exercise between the National Guard and the Israeli special forces will take place in the coming days in several areas of the Troodos mountains, media reports said on Wednesday.

The exercise, part of the defence cooperation that has developed in recent years between the two countries, will mainly focus on scenarios for occupying and liberating villages and survival strategies.

The presence of Israeli commandos is expected to be impressive, as this is the first time such a large number of Israeli soldiers will attend a military exercise in Cyprus.

Advisor to the defence minister, Maro Theodotou, was unwilling to confirm any details of the joint military exercise on Wednesday.

This week’s exercises follow a three-day joint military exercise between Cyprus and Israel which took place between March 20 – 22, as part of the agreement for military co-operation between the two countries.

The ‘Onisilos-Gideon’ exercise was held inside the Nicosia flight information region and also incorporated a large section of territory.

A large number of National Guard personnel took part as well as numerous Israeli air force aircraft, which tested Cypriot air defences.

Onisilos-Gideon was the biggest since 2014 when the two countries agreed to hold joint exercises.

Meanwhile, the government has lodged a formal complaint to the UN concerning a Turkish military exercise which took place 30 nautical miles north-west of Paphos.

The complaint noted that the exercise was within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone.