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US CENTCOM pulls closer to Israeli military as Mossad tests Iran

Training exercise represents the tightest collaboration ever, but a deputy commander of CENTCOM tells Al-Monitor the US had no involvement in recent strikes attributed to Israel in Isfahan, Iran and eastern Syria.
An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jet performs during a graduation ceremony of Israeli Air Force pilots, at the Hatzerim base in the Negev desert, near the southern city of Beer Sheva, on December 28, 2022. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Last week, for the first time ever, US Air Force F-35s launched from the USS George H.W. Bush flew several hundred miles over the Mediterranean and linked up with Israeli F-35s to simulate a combined attack on surface-to-air missile batteries in the Negev desert.

As they neared the target, accompanying F-16s and F-15s peeled away to attack as many as ten fourth-plus-generation aircraft posing as the defenders of an imagined enemy airspace.

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