The militaries of Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and the United States on Wednesday kicked off a multilateral maritime security operations exercise, the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) said Thursday.
The five-day exercise in the Red Sea is the first public naval exercise Israel has held with the UAE and Bahrain since the Abraham Accords were signed last year.
The exercise includes training on the USS Portland, which will "enhance interoperability between participating forces' maritime interdiction teams," NAVCENT said in its statement.
Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, US 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said, "Maritime collaboration helps safeguard freedom of navigation and the free flow of trade, which are essential to regional security and stability."
On Sunday, Iran kicked off a widescale military exercise, conducted throughout the area from north of the Indian Ocean to parts of the Red Sea. The Iranian exercise includes among other things, the use of drones, manned aircraft, special forces, and both defensive and offensive missiles systems.