Jerusalem – The Middle East Newsline has confirmed Israel and the United States have been conducting a multi-phased missile defense exercise meant to defend against an Iranian attack.

The two countries have been engaged in Juniper Cobra-2010 in several areas of Israel.

“Juniper Cobra”, organized by the Israel Air Force and U.S. European Command, marked the biggest edition of the biannual exercise and sought to counter Iran’s new Sejil-2 solid-fuel ballistic missile. The exercise began on Oct. 21 and is scheduled to end on Thursday.

“Each exercise varies in focus and scope, and this year we are concentrating on combined air defense,” U.S. Navy 6th Fleet chief of staff Capt. Mike Martin said.

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The exercise, the fifth edition since 2001, has been divided into three phases. Officials said the first phase was the deployment of more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel, including 17 naval vessels, around Israel.

The second phase would consist of a simulation of ballistic missile attacks meant to reflect Iran’s capabilities. Officials said this phase would link such missile-defense systems as Israel’s Arrow-2, PAC-2 and the U.S. PAC-3, sea-based Aegis and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.

“The simulation would test against a salvo of advanced Iranian missiles,” an official said.

The third phase of Juniper Cobra would feature a live-fire missile defense test. Officials said Israel and the United States would oversee the fire of PAC-3.

“JC-10 is the fifth iteration of this exercise with this year’s focus on testing the active missile-defense capabilities of both U.S. and Israeli armed forces,” the U.S. Navy said Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy has deployed the USS Higgins to transport sailors and soldiers to the Israeli port of Haifa. The exercise was also the first in which the U.S. military’s AN/TPY-2 X-band radar was deployed in Israel.

“We will advance both the art and science of ballistic missile defense between our two forces, and in the end, I am confident we will have a safe and successful Juniper Cobra exercise,” Rear Sixth Fleet deputy chief Adm. John Richardson, also the commander of JC-10’s joint task force, said.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.