Tel Aviv — Navies from the United States, Israel and Greece kicked off a two-week exercise in the Mediterranean Sea on March 7, the third in an annual trilateral event dubbed Noble Dina.
In a March 7 statement, the Israeli military said the drill aims to hone operational coordination in search-and-rescue missions and responses to maritime emergencies, maritime evacuations, navigations and fire drills. It is scheduled to conclude March 21.
Launched in April 2011, the joint drill with Greece replaced a decade of annual exercises among navies of the United States, Israel and Turkey carried out under the trilateral Reliant Mermaid program.
Turkey suspended naval and air exercises with Israel due to the diplomatic fallout over Israel’s May 2010 seizure of a Turkish civilian ship bound for Gaza. Nine Turkish nationals were killed in violent clashes with Israeli commandos deployed to enforce Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza.
Since then, Israel has been cultivating Turkey’s longtime rival, Greece, as a partner for joint military exercises and defense trade.
Israel and Greece signed a defense cooperation agreement in early 2012.