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Israel Air Force Trains in Greece, Lands Helicopters on Mount Olympus


The air force was practicing flying over mountainous terrain – the kind of exercise it used to do in Turkey.

Israeli helicopter squadrons trained in Greece over the past two weeks and practiced landing on mountains – including Mount Olympus, the country’s highest elevation.
The helicopters, Sikorsky CH-53s and UH-60 Black Hawks, known in the Israeli miltiary as "Yasour" and "Yanshuf" respectively, returned to Israel on Thursday after the joint exercise – the kind of drill Israel used to do in Turkey before relations between the two countries soured.
The air force sent twice the number of crews needed to fly to Greece to give many crew members the chance to train under different conditions. Israeli Hercules transport planes and Beechcraft King Air light planes also took part.
The flight to Greece was a long one for the helicopters, about seven hours. Lt. Col. Gilad, the 124th Squadron commander whose last name may not be revealed, said the conditions were special.
“These are field conditions that we don’t run into in Israel,” the officer said. “We only have Mount Hermon, and there are mountains there that simulate countries where maybe we’lSchermata 2016 09 26 alle 08.43.36l land someday.”
The air force’s cooperation with the Greeks is extensive; Israelis, for example, take part in the Greek air force’s annual exercise. A senior Israeli officer described the cooperation as “strategic” and said the two countries had “shared interests – military and economic.”
In the past, Turkey was where Israeli pilots would practice encountering unknown territory.
“Without a doubt, this is a change from what we did at the time in Turkey, where I remember spending a lot of time a decade ago,” Gilad said. “From our perspective, this was an excellent exercise – it expands our operational capabilities and makes us deal with things we don’t deal with on a day-to-day basis.”
During this month’s exercise, a Greek helicopter crashed.
In recent years, the Israeli air force has practiced flying in mountainous areas in other countries. In Romania in 2010, an Israeli CH-53 crashed in the Carpathian Mountains, killing all six Israeli crew members and a Romanian officer.

Gili Cohen
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.744168
Schermata 2016 09 26 alle 08.43.46

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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