JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military is holding its largest-ever air drill with pilots from eight countries simulating combat scenarios.

It said on Thursday that Germany, India and France are taking part for the first time in the two-week drill codenamed "Blue Flag." The exercise is held every two years.

Dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft face off in training exercises and drills, ranging from air battles to dealing with anti-aircraft systems.

The drill comes as Israel faces challenges from neighboring Syria where the Iran-backed Shiite Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is fighting alongside government forces.

Israel fears its archenemy Iran will establish a Shiite "corridor" on its doorstep, with land links from Iran to Lebanon, allowing for the movement of militants and weapons across the region.