Israel has launched its largest military exercises in nearly twenty years on Tuesday, on its northern region bordering Lebanon.
The combined ground, sea and air war simulations also involve anti-missile defenses and are meant to prepare the country for a possible conflict with Hezbollah, across the border in Lebanon and the Golan Heights.
Israel and Hezbollah have fought many battles in more than three decades of conflict. Some have been on a very large scale such as the 2006 war, which lasted for more than a month and turned Israeli towns and cities into targets for Hezbollah rockets.
Military sources said tens of thousands of soldiers, including thousands of reserves, would take part. Aircraft, boats and submarines would be deployed. The exercises will last ten days, until September 14.
Israel and the United States last month accused a UN peacekeeping mission of turning a blind eye to Hezbollah smuggling arms and amassing forces on Lebanon's southern border with Israel in preparation for war.
But the current Israeli drills have been planned for more than a year and a half, sources told AFP.