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​US European Command forces unload equipment for Exercise Juniper Cobra 2016. Israel Defense Forces photo.

​More than 1,700 US uniform and civilian personnel are in Israel for Exercise Juniper Cobra 16, in which participants from both countries will run a computer simulation focused on ballistic missile defense, Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Monday. The exercise is the highest priority for US European Command this year and one of the largest bilateral training exercises between the two countries, he said. It runs for two weeks and will focus on improving the ability to defend Israel from possible missile attacks. The biennial exercise dates back to 2001 and “is an important part of the training of both the US EUCOM and the [Israel Defense Forces],” according to the IDF. During the previous exercise, US and Israeli forces ran simulations focused on defense, crisis resupply, foreign disaster response, and foreign humanitarian assistance.