JERUSALEM, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and U.S. armies concluded on Thursday a joint exercise simulating the defense of Israel from surface-to-surface missile attack, the Israeli military said.

The Juniper Falcon 19 exercise, which was held on Feb. 10-14, involved the U.S. European Command and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

According to a statement by the Israeli army, more than 300 U.S. troops participated in the exercise alongside some 400 IDF soldiers.

"The Juniper Falcon 19 exercise was conducted as part of the joint annual training plan and signified the deep strategic partnership between the two militaries," the statement said.

During the exercise, the forces simulated receiving a U.S. heavy-lift aircraft, deploying the infrastructure and employing shared teleprocessing and communications systems, it added.

The Hebrew-language Ynet news site reported that the exercise created a scenario under which an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian site in Syria or Lebanon triggers a missile attack and the United States is called to help.

"This year's exercise focused specifically on our ability to rapidly deploy and integrate forces with the IDF," said Jeffrey L. Harrigian, deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa.

Juniper Falcon is an annual joint exercise between Israeli and U.S. forces.

This year's drill took place amid heightened regional tensions over the U.S. plan to withdraw all forces from Syria, Israel's northern neighbor.

Israel has become increasingly concerned about the presence of Iranian forces in war-torn Syria, where they fight alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel sees Iran as its arch-enemy and has carried out hundreds of deadly airstrikes in Syria, saying the attacks target Iranian sites in the country.