US, Gulf states and Israel hold first joint naval drills

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Forces from the UAE, Bahrain, Israel and the US Naval Forces Central Command began a multilateral maritime security operations exercise in the Red Sea to “enhance interoperability”.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have held their first joint naval exercise with Israel, a year after normalising ties. 

The US Navy said that the five-day manoeuvres in the Red Sea, which began on Wednesday are linked to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal, and are intended to “enhance interoperability between participating forces”.

“It is exciting to see US forces training with regional partners to enhance our collective maritime security capabilities,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of US Naval Forces Central Command, or NAVCENT.

“Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability.”

The exercises include boarding, search and seizure training on the USS Portland, an amphibious transport dock ship.

It is the first publicly announced military cooperation by the UAE and Bahrain with Israel since they opened diplomatic relations in September last year.

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