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Israel simulates long-range air strikes over Mediterranean

JERUSALEM (AP):  The Israeli military on Wednesday said dozens of its aircraft conducted a drill simulating airstrikes on long-range targets, a thinly veiled reference to a possible attack on regional rival Iran.

The army said the exercise took place a day earlier over the Mediterranean and involved long-range flight, aerial refuelling and striking distant targets . It provided no additional information.

The announcement came as negotiators representing world powers and Iran have held months of talks in a bid to hash out a new agreement to rein in Tehran's nuclear programme, four years after a deal struck in 2015 collapsed after the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew.

Israel considers Iran its greatest threat and was staunchly opposed to the 2015 JCPOA accords signed by Iran and world powers, saying it didn't have enough safeguards to keep Iran from developing a weapons capability or address other Iranian military threats in the region. It has said it opposes a return to a new nuclear agreement.

Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, but has never publicly acknowledged having such weapons.

Tuesday's air force drill took place as part of a larger, month-long military exercise, which included combat simulations in Cyprus earlier this week.

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