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UAE major general makes first official visit to Israel

Ibrahim Nasser was welcomed at the Palmachim air base in central Israel by an honour guard led by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Amikam Norkin

The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Air Force Major General Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al Alawi landed in Israel to begin his first official visit since the two countries normalised ties last year.

The trip comes during a joint military air exercise in Israel dubbed the "Blue Flag", in which the Israeli, Indian, American, German, Italian, French, Greek and UK air forces are taking part, and which is due to run until Thursday.

Ibrahim Nasser was welcomed at the Palmachim air base in central Israel by an honour guard led by the Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Amikam Norkin, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The statement also announced that the military leaders discussed opportunities for future collaboration between their respective air forces at the event.

"I thank you, Maj. Gen. Al Alawi, for this visit to Israel. This is a truly historic day with tremendous significance for the future of cooperation between our air forces," Norkin said.

Blue Flag was described by Israel's Air Force as the country's "largest and most advanced aerial exercise to date."

Although Emirati planes did not participate in the exercise, the head of operations of the Israeli Air Force, Amir Lazar, described the visit of the Air Force Commander as "very important" and expressed his hope to "host the UAE Air Force" in the future.

In September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed a US-sponsored deal to normalise relations. Since then, the two countries have signed dozens of bilateral agreements in various fields, including investment, banking services, tourism and security.

READ: Israel, UAE set for mission to the moon in 2024

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