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Israeli naval forces and the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser “USS Monterey” conduct maritime security operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, March 15, 2021.Credit: U.S. Navy.

U.S. and Israel hold joint navy exercise in Mediterranean

The United States and Israel conducted a joint security patrol on Monday in the Eastern Mediterranean, the U.S. Navy said in a statement.

The exercise comes after a devastating oil spill last month that tarred Israeli beaches and who many blamed on Iranian eco-terrorism.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG-61) joined Israeli Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boats for the patrol, which according to the U.S. 6th fleet “enhanced interoperability” between the two nations’ naval forces.

The U.S. and Israeli navies collaborate on a number of military exercises in the Mediterranean, including the Noble Dina, Noble Melinda and Juniper Cobra exercise serials. Noble Dina 2021 was conducted last week, joined for the first time by vessels of the French and Cypriot navies.

“The Israeli Navy, alongside our American counterparts, undertook a successful patrol to ensure the safety and security of Israel’s maritime borders. The Israeli Navy will continue to operate across all theaters to secure the safety of our citizens and the integrity of our sovereignty,” said Israeli Navy Commander Baruch Haviv.

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Capt. Joe Bagget, “USS Monterey” commanding officer, left, and Israeli Navy Commander Baruch Haviv (center) aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, March 15, 2021. Credit: U.S. Navy.

U.S. Navy Capt. Joe Baggett, commanding officer of the USS Monterey, said that such joint efforts represented a “great opportunity” for the two nations’ naval forces to learn from each other.

“We share a common purpose—increase the security and stability in the region to achieve prosperity through enduring partnerships,” he said. “Regional security and stability are directly linked to enhanced cooperation, understanding and collaboration with our partners.”

“Through operations and training such as this, [the] U.S. and IDF [Israel Defense Forces] enhance existing cooperative relationships and take great strides in safeguarding the region’s vital link to the global economy,” said the U.S. commander.

The Eastern Mediterranean is regularly patroled by the Israeli Navy in an attempt to prevent illegal arms shipments to the terrorist enclave of Gaza. It’s navy also cooperates with Cyprus and Egyptian navies.