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Mystery private jet flies from Israel to Saudi Arabia

The jet reportedly landed in Riyadh [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2019

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Speculation is rife that Israeli officials secretly visited Saudi Arabia after a mysterious jet coming from Tel Aviv landed in Riyadh.
A mysterious private jet flew from Israel to Saudi Arabia this week in what is being perceived as yet another incognito display of growing relations between the two countries.

Flight tracking data revealed that the Challenger 604, a private aircraft registered in the United States, was in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh for approximately an hour on Tuesday before returning to Israel's Ben Gurion airport.

Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, who writes for Maariv, speculated in a tweet that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Mossad spy chief Yossi Cohen may have been on board the flight, and said they may have visited to discuss the ongoing war in Syria.

In another report, Israeli news site Jerusalem Post said the same aircraft made trips between Israeli capital Tel Aviv and Egypt's capital Cairo over the last few months.

Haaretz journlist Avi Scharf tweeted: "Did someone from Israel come for a snap trilateral in Riyadh? I don't know."

Read also: Football friendly: Israel invites Saudi national team to play match amid growing signs of normalisation

The reports come a month after Israel's acting foreign minister Yisrael Katz said he met with the chief diplomat of an unspecified Arab country which Israel does not have official relations with, adding that Arab countries want to normalise relations with Israel.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have no official diplomatic relations.

Amid rising tensions between Israel and regional adversaries Iran and Lebanon-based Hezbollah militants, Israel under Netanyahu has been building security ties with Gulf Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

Lucrative economic ties are also on the table, such as a purported deal to build a gas pipeline to provide Saudi Arabia with a supply of Israel's natural gas.

Gulf rulers have come under harsh criticism for their perceived abandonment of support for Palestinian statehood and the rights of millions of Palestinians living under occupation.

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