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Israeli Official: Cyprus Military Drills Not Meant to 'Send Message' to Turkey

Israeli source tells Cyprus Mail that its plan to hold military exercises in Cyprus airspace is routine for the Israeli military and there is no political agenda behind it.

An Israeli official said on Saturday that there was no political agenda behind its decision to hold a military drill in Cyprus airspace, denying allegations it way trying to “send a message” to Turkey, Cyprus’s longtime enemy, the Cyprus Mail reported.

Tensions have been high between Israel and Turkey after Israel refused to apologize for a deadly flotilla raid last year, in which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens.

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The United Nations released a report last month stating that the soldiers acted in self defense and Israel's blockade on Gaza is legal, prompting a further escalation in tensions between two countries and the removal of Israel’s diplomatic presence in Turkey.

“Air force exercises over our allies’ air space are routine for the Israeli military and there is no political agenda behind this,” an Israeli source told the Cyprus Mail.

The Nicosia Defense Ministry’s acting spokesperson, Andreas Tyrimos denied participation in the drills. “The Defence Ministry is not participating in any exercises,” he said according to the report.

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