The U.S. military has deployed its most advanced air and missile defense system to Israel for the first time, U.S. and Israeli military officials said Monday.
The deployment, which began in March, was intended to test the U.S. military's ability to rapidly deploy such weapons around the world, said a spokeswoman for U.S. European Command.
Citing security reasons, she declined to say how long it took to move the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is built by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to Israel from its home base of Fort Bliss, Texas.
The move comes amid increased tensions between Israel and Iran. The U.S. has pushed tighter sanctions against Iran, Israel's arch-enemy.
The U.S. military said the decision to rapidly move the THAAD system to Israel was intended "as a demonstration of the United States' continued commitment to Israel's regional security." "THAAD is the most advanced integrated air and missile defense system in the world, and this deployment readiness exercise demonstrates that U.S. forces are agile and can respond quickly and unpredictably to any threat, anywhere, at any time," U.S. European Command said.