A delegation of IDF soldiers from the elite Golani Brigade arrived this week in Morocco to take part for the first time in the multinational ‘African Lion’ military exercise.
Twelve soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit left Sunday to join the final two weeks of the multinational drill.
Eighteen nations and approximately 8,000 personnel are participating in this year’s iteration of US Africa Command’s largest annual combined joint exercise.
Parts of the exercise are also being held in Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia (which has no diplomatic ties with Israel.)
The US-led drill is being held in Morocco as well as in Senegal and Tunisia (which has no diplomatic ties with Israel); it began on May 13 and ends on June 18.
The Israeli contingent will participate in the exercise only in Morocco in deference to diplomatic issues.
In Morocco, the exercise is taking place in seven regions, including Agadir, Tan-Tan, Tiznit, Kenitra, Benguerir, Tifnit, and Mahbes in southern Morocco.
Last year, the exercise also took place in Mahbes, an inclusion that reflected the US’ position in supporting Morocco’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over its southern provinces in Western Sahara.
“Our collective ability to bring like-minded nations together for an exercise like this is truly impressive,” said Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, United States Africa Command Chief of Staff. “African Lion is the centerpiece of the AFRICOM exercise strategy, and one of the greatest U.S. exercises across the globe.”
This year’s exercise features multiple combined arms live fire exercises; a maritime exercise; an air exercise; a joint forcible entry with paratroopers into a field training exercise; two chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear response exercises; and three humanitarian civic assistance program events, the US Department of Defense said in a statement.
‘African Lion’ is intended to increase interoperability during crisis and operations to increase security and stability in the region, as well as strengthen shared defense capabilities and cooperation to counter transnational threats and violent extremist organizations.