A Moroccan Air Force Hercules landed Sunday at the Hatzor base in the south, multiple Israeli media outlets reported. The arrival was ahead of a regional military exercise to be held this week in Israel with the participation of “a number of countries,” as the IDF Spokesman defined it. This is the first time a Moroccan military plane has been observed landing in Israel by aviation surveillance sites.
The IDF spokesman only stated that “the IDF maintains cooperation with a variety of foreign countries and armies in exercises and training, seniors’ meetings, research, and joint developments. Naturally, in view of the sensitivity that accompanies the exercise, we will not address the identity of the participating countries.”
Telegram news service Abu Ali Express noted that “the Palestinians are having a hard time digesting the Israeli report on the landing of a Moroccan army cargo plane at the Hatzor Air Force base ahead of a joint air exercise. They simply can’t get it down their throats that the Moroccan Air Force is together with the same Israeli Air Force planes that attacked the Gaza Strip – especially in light of Ismail Haniya’s visit to senior Moroccan government officials about two weeks ago.”
The Department of Defense recently informed Congress that the Moroccan Air Force is on its way to a $250 million deal with the US to upgrade its F-16 fleet. The deal that was submitted for Congress’ approval is expected to include, among other things, US assistance with logistics, spare parts and training for F-16 pilots in the Moroccan Air Force.
According to the Defense Dept., the deal will help US security by strengthening the security of a country that is not a member of NATO but is an important force for regional stability in North Africa.
Last September, the Air Force awarded Cubic a $193.3 million contract to continue support through September 2027 for almost 1,000 Airborne P5 Combat Training Systems (P5CTS) and range infrastructure in more than 20 Air Force bases and training ranges, as well as support for the use of P5CTS by allied countries, including the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, Egypt, Morocco, and Singapore.
The agreement to renew diplomatic relations between Israel and Morocco came after President Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty in Western Sahara, where it is mired in a war over the disputed territory with the local population. The Trump administration then told Congress that it was promoting a $1 billion arms sale to Morocco, which would include unmanned aerial vehicles and additional guided weapons.
The New York Times reported that the US has offered Morocco American investments to the tune of about $3 billion in the country, mostly in banks, hotels, and a renewable energy company owned by King Muhammad VI.