US Navy SEALs, Cyprus special forces hold anti-terror drill

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LIMASSOL, Cyprus (AP) — Members of the U.S. navy’s elite special forces SEAL unit joined Cypriot underwater demolition soldiers on Friday in a joint drill to hone skills in countering terrorist hijackings at sea.A U.S. Navy SEAL special forces operator, front, and colleagues during a joint U.S.-Cyprus military drill at Limassol port on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Cyprus' Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said the U.S. and Cyprus are on the same strategic path to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region and that continued close cooperation between the special forces of both countries aim to counter threats from potential terrorist acts. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)© Provided by Associated Press A U.S. Navy SEAL special forces operator, front, and colleagues during a joint U.S.-Cyprus military drill at Limassol port on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Cyprus’ Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said the U.S. and Cyprus are on the same strategic path to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region and that continued close cooperation between the special forces of both countries aim to counter threats from potential terrorist acts. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)

The exercise involved teams of U.S. and Cypriot special forces re-taking a ship controlled by terrorists.

Cypriot Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said after the drill that Cyprus and the U.S. are on the same “strategic path” to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region.A U.S. Navy SEAL special forces operator, left, stands with a colleague during a joint U.S.-Cyprus military drill at Limassol port on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Cyprus' Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said the U.S. and Cyprus are on the same strategic path to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region and that continued close cooperation between the special forces of both countries aim to counter threats from potential terrorist acts. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)© Provided by Associated Press A U.S. Navy SEAL special forces operator, left, stands with a colleague during a joint U.S.-Cyprus military drill at Limassol port on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Cyprus’ Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said the U.S. and Cyprus are on the same strategic path to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region and that continued close cooperation between the special forces of both countries aim to counter threats from potential terrorist acts. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)

He said close cooperation between the two countries’ special forces in the past two years aims to achieve peak preparedness in order to deal with “asymmetrical threats and emerging crises.”

U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Judith Garber said more joint drills will follow in the near future.

The U.S. decided for the first time last year to provide military education and training funding to Cyprus following Congressional approval as part of Washington’s push to enhance ties with countries in the region in order to boost security.A special forces operator climbs on the side of a ship  during a joint U.S.-Cyprus military drill at Limassol port on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Cyprus' Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said the U.S. and Cyprus are on the same strategic path to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region and that continued close cooperation between the special forces of both countries aim to counter threats from potential terrorist acts. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)© Provided by Associated Press A special forces operator climbs on the side of a ship during a joint U.S.-Cyprus military drill at Limassol port on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Cyprus’ Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said the U.S. and Cyprus are on the same strategic path to ensure security and stability in a turbulent region and that continued close cooperation between the special forces of both countries aim to counter threats from potential terrorist acts. (AP Photo/Philippos Christou)

The funding is part of the Eastern Mediterranean Energy and Security Partnership Act that U.S. legislators approved in 2019. The legislation underscores U.S. support for a partnership between Greece, Cyprus and Israel founded on recently discovered offshore gas deposits in the region.

The Act also partially lifts a 1987 U.S. arms embargo on Cyprus that was imposed to prevent an arms race that could hamper efforts to reunify the ethnically divided island nation. AdChoices

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