The first joint air exercise between the Hellenic Air Force and the Israeli Air Force since the Hamas attack last October took place on Monday south of the large island of Crete.

According to an announcement by the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) general staff, posted on the HAF’s website, the live exercise included the participation of 56 Greek F-16 fighter planes, while the IAF participated with two B707 tanker air refueling aircraft from the 120 Squadron (Desert Giants).

Joint exercise

“The conduct of the activity was aimed at training, familiarization and coordination of F-16 crews in Air to Air Refueling (AAR) during day and night, which contributed to increase the level of operational readiness, combat capability, exchange of know-how and upgrade the cooperation between the two countries,” the HAF added.

The joint exercise took place over a maritime region “marked off” in the revisionist and unrecognized “Turo-Libyan” agreement aimed to delimitate EEZs between the two non-bordering states in the central and eastern Mediterranean.

Greece has also issued licenses to international consortia to conduct hydrocarbon exploration in blocks southwest and south of Crete, the country’s largest island, which is situated between the Aegean and Libyan Sea.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) had staged a major long-range strike drill in Greece last September, in what analysts at the time called training for a potential strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

At the time, the Israeli military said the joint two-day-long drill with the Hellenic Air Force included long-range flights, aerial refueling, low-altitude flights and the use of live fire.