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In open military cooperation; Israel, UAE conduct drill in Greece

An Israeli warplane taxis along the airstrip of the military airport of Andravida, southern Greece, April 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Greece is hosting a military exercise jointly conducted by Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), nearly one year into a controversial normalization agreement between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.

The INIOCHOS drill simulates a variety of scenarios, including in-air dogfights, massive airstrikes and evading attacks from surface-to-air missiles, the Israeli military confirmed on Tuesday.

The maneuver started on Sunday and is scheduled to wrap up on Friday.

The Israeli and Emirati pilots flew side by side in previous joint maneuvers, including drills in 2016 and 2017, but this year’s exercise marks a rare case of open military cooperation between the two sides.

Besides Israel and the UAE, air forces from Cyprus, France, the United States, Spain and Canada are joining Greece for the drill.

From the Israeli side, F-15 and F-16 warplanes are participating, as well as Boeing 707 refueling tankers and Gulfstream G550 surveillance planes.

Israel and the UAE agreed to a US-brokered deal to normalize relations in August 2020.

Palestinians say the deal was a stab in the back and a direct affront to their cause to liberate their land from Israeli occupation.

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