Eight hundred soldiers will head to Þjórsárdalur valley in the southern highlands of Iceland to participate in NATO exercises this weekend, RÚV reports. According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the exercises are not military in nature, rather involve a hike along pathways through the valley, and should not cause environmental damage.
The exercise will take place over two days and is a typical winter exercise for NATO forces. Each day, 400 soldiers will hike through the valley with equipment in order to experience cold climate conditions.
NATO exercises will also take place in Sandvík, Southwest Iceland this Wednesday and at Keflavík airport’s security area, where 400 US soldiers will practice landing and around 120 will practice responding to an attack on the Icelandic Coast Guard’s headquarters.
The Sandvík exercises are part of a larger NATO exercise called Trident Juncture 2018 which will take place mostly in Norway. The exercise is NATO’s biggest in recent years, involving 50,000 participants from 31 NATO countries and others. Around ten ships from NATO's maritime forces carrying some 6,000 marines will arrive in Reykjavík next weekend from the US, Britain, Denmark, and Canada for an organisational conference on the exercise. The ships will continue on to Norway on Sunday.