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      Israeli, US, Greek Warships Conclude 'Noble Dina'

      Israeli, Greek and US warships conclude joint two-week Mediterranean naval exercise codenamed "Noble Dina"
      By Arutz Sheva staff
      First Publish: 3/22/2013, 4:44 AM

      Naval exercises
      Naval exercises
      Reuters

      Israeli, Greek and US warships concluded a joint two-week Mediterranean naval exercise codenamed "Noble Dina" on Thursday, the Israeli military said.

      "The exercise, which took place in the Mediterranean Sea, was conducted in order to assess the level of operational coordination between the three navies," it said, according to the AFP news agency.

      It said that participants were drilled in "search and rescue, immediacy and efficiency of the response to maritime emergencies, maritime evacuation, navigation and fire drills."

      The exercise came to an end as President Barack Obama paid a three-day visit to the Jewish state.

      For several years, Israel and the US carried out naval maneuvers with Turkey, but Ankara in September 2011 expelled Israel's ambassador and suspended military cooperation.

      Once-warm ties reached a low point in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect Israel’s national security, boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled with pro-Arab activists seeking to infiltrate Israel’s borders. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists, including one US citizen.

      Relations with traditionally pro-Arab Greece have since been warming, with Israel joining in naval and air exercises.

      Athens is keenly interested in Israel's economic rapprochement with traditional Greek ally Cyprus to develop offshore gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.

      Media said of last year's Noble Dina exercise that it was designed in part to practice defending offshore gas rigs, according to AFP.

      In November, Israeli and US troops concluded a major missile defense exercise lasting more than three weeks and involving 3,500 personnel from the US European Command and 1,000 Israeli troops.