Israeli fighter pilots recently trained with Arab counterparts in the United States, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Tuesday, referring to a joint exercise that a U.S. official described as involving JordanianÂ planes.
The remarks by Yaalon followed Israel’s disclosure that its air force helped locate a Russian passenger plane that crashed in the Egyptian Sinai on Saturday – both rare departures from a policy of keeping Israeli-Arab military cooperation secret.
In a speech, Yaalon alluded to Israel finding common cause with countries opposed to Iran and its allies such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.
Mentioning Israel’s participation in “Red Flag”, a U.S.-hosted air force exercise in July, Yaalon said: “There were Arab pilots there too, and pilots from the various branches of
the United States military and other countries.”
A U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said Jordan took part in Red Flag, sending warplanes that flew out with Israel’s jets and refuelled from an Israeli tanker over the Atlantic Ocean.
Asked about Israel’s statements, an Egyptian security source said no Israeli spotter aircraft entered Egypt’s airspace.