(Newsroom America) -- The largest ever military exercise between the U.S. and Israel began over the weekend, involving thousands of personnel and involving all major military branches.
The Israeli military said the aim of the exercises were to test air defense readiness. The exercise, dubbed Austere Challenge 2012, began Sunday and involves more than 3,500 Americans and 1,000 Israelis, reports said.
Both are practicing their ability to respond to a host of threats facing Israel, the United States' primary Mideast ally.
The exercise was originally scheduled to take place in April but was postponed at Jerusalem's request.
No reason was given at the time but the postponement came amid reports that Israel may have been preparing to launch a military strike against Iran, in a bid to destroy that country's mounting atomic weapons threat.
The weeks-long exercise will test both countries' abilities to intercept rocket and missile threats from Iran and other nations, said reports.
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