Sunday, November 5, 2017

IDF Largest-Ever Aerial Exercises, Islamic Jihad Ups Death Toll From Gaza Blast To 12, Securing N Korean Nuclear Sites Would Require A Ground Invasion

IDF's largest-ever aerial exercise takes off, with India on board 

Air forces from nine countries on Sunday kicked off the Blue Flag exercise in southern Israel — the largest aerial exercise ever held by the Israel Defense Forces.
Teams from India, the United States, Greece, Poland, France, Italy and Germany are taking part in the exercise, along with Israel and an eighth country unidentified by the IDF.
It is the first time that India is taking part in the biennial exercise, a sign of the improving military ties between Jerusalem and New Delhi.
The Indian Air Force sent a C-130J transport plane. Other countries sent fighter jets, transport planes and refueling aircraft.
According to the IDF, more than a thousand people — including pilots, commanders and technical personnel — are taking part in the 11-day exercise.
The exercise is being held out of the Israeli Air Force’s Ovda base, north of Eilat.
“The participating nations arrived in Israel in their own aircraft and will practice different situations and scenarios,” the IDF said.
The countries will square off against the IDF’s so-called Red Squadron, which acts as an enemy force in exercises.
According to the army, the goal of the exercise is to both improve technical ability and to strengthen the “diplomatic cooperation between the countries.”

Palestinian militant group in the Gaza Strip on Friday said that five more of its members, who were previously thought to be missing, died when Israel destroyed a cross-border tunnel earlier this week, raising the number of deceased in the incident to 12. 

Islamic Jihad said that the five militants had been digging the tunnel leading into Israeli territory “for years.” In the 2014 Gaza war, Islamic Jihad and Hamas militants used tunnels to wage attacks against Israel. “We announce that five heroes from the al-Quds Brigades have risen to heaven,” the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, said in a statement. 

The group’s statement came after Israel denied authorities in Gaza immediate access to the Gaza-Israel border area, where the militants were thought to be located. Israel controls a buffer zone near its frontier with the Strip.

Earlier this week, the Hamas-run Civil Defense in Gaza asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to request permission on its behalf from Israel to search for the five militants in the border region. 

Following a conversation between the Red Cross chief in Israel and the Palestinian territories Jacques De-Maio and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the latter said in a statement on Thursday that Israel “will not allow for locating the terrorists in the tunnel without progress on the issue of missing and captive Israelis.”

The only way to locate and secure all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons sites “with complete certainty” is through an invasion of ground forces, and in the event of conflict, Pyongyang could use biological and chemical weapons, the Pentagon told lawmakers in a new, blunt assessment of what war on the Korean Peninsula might look like.
The Pentagon, in a letter to lawmakers, said that a full discussion of U.S. capabilities to “counter North Korea’s ability to respond with a nuclear weapon and to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons located in deeply buried, underground facilities” is best suited for a classified briefing.
The letter also said that Pentagon leaders “assess that North Korea may consider the use of biological weapons” and that the country “has a long-standing chemical weapons program with the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood and choking agents.”
The Pentagon repeated that a detailed discussion of how the United States would respond to the threat could not be discussed in public.

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