US and Israeli military forces have begun a joint missile defence exercise codenamed Juniper Cobra, which simulates an Iranian missile attack on Israeli towns.

During the simulation exercise, US troops will provide reinforcements for the missile defence system while rescue forces from the Israeli Home Front Command will simulate rapid responses to missile strikes within an Israeli town.

In addition, Israeli rescue forces will also simulate unconventional missile strikes against American batteries.

The exercise also includes practicing the cleaning of dangerous materials left from supposed chemical or biological missile strikes.

American soldiers participating in the drill are responsible for activating the Aegis, THAAD and SM-3 missile systems, as well as the advanced PAC-3 Class Patriot missile, while the Israeli soldiers will act as Arrow and Patriot missile defence system operators.

The nations have been conducting such exercises every two years since 2001. The current exercise, started on 21 October 2009, is expected to continue for a fortnight.