Moroccan plane lands in Israel, reportedly before taking part in IDF drill

A Moroccan air force plane touched down in Israel’s Hatzor Air Base, reportedly to take part in a multinational Israeli Air Force exercise later this month.

The highly irregular landing of the Royal Moroccan Air Force C-130 cargo plane at the Hatzor Air Base near Ashdod was visible on public flight-tracking software, where it was quickly spotted by a number of amateur radar watchers, one of whom shared the information with The Times of Israel.

It appeared to be at least the second time the RMAF cargo plane landed in Israel, the first time being in 1996 when it touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport, according to aviation enthusiast David Weinrich, who tracked that flight at the time.

The C-130 cargo plane landed in Israel on Sunday for a military exercise scheduled for later this month, in which several foreign countries are due to take part, according to the Walla news site.

The Israel Defense Forces refused to confirm the report or the visit.

“The IDF cooperates with a variety of foreign nations and militaries, while carrying out exercises, high-level meetings, and joint research and development [projects]. We will not comment on cooperations with a specific country,” the military said in a statement.

After a 20-year lull in diplomatic relations, Israel and Morocco renewed their ties, amid a wave of normalization agreements with other Arab countries.

While Jerusalem and Rabat did not in the past have full relations — with diplomatic offices in each other’s capital instead of embassies — they maintained close official ties until Morocco suspended them with the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.

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