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Israel Will Oppose Any US Sale of F-35s to Qatar, Cabinet Minister Says

© F-35 Joint Program OfficeAn F-35A releases ordnance during a dual capable aircraft (DCA) test flight in the skies above Edwards Air Force Base, California, on February 6, 2020.
An F-35A releases ordnance during a dual capable aircraft (DCA) test flight in the skies above Edwards Air Force Base, California, on February 6, 2020. - Sputnik International
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On Thursday, Reuters learned from three anonymous sources that Qatar had "in recent weeks" filed a request with the United States for the purchase of the stealth multirole fighter jets.

Any potential US deal with Qatar on the acquisition of F-35 military planes will be rejected by Israel, the country's intelligence minister Eli Cohen said Sunday, as quoted by Reuters.

The purchase deal, which is yet to be confirmed by either Washington or Doha, was reported by Reuters earlier this week. The news outlet cited three informed sources close to the deal as saying that Qatar had sent a formal request to the United States for the purchase of F-35s.

 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter - Sputnik International
Qatar Files Formal Request to Obtain F-35 Jets From US - Report

President Trump stated in mid-September - just after Israel and the UAE signed a landmark normalisation agreement - that he did not rule out selling the F-35 to Abu Dhabi and other states in the region. Reacting to the remark, the Israeli Prime Minister said that he would oppose the arms deal.

Qatar is reportedly rumoured to be in talks to normalise ties with Israel, following a recent normalisation of ties between the Jewish State and the UAE and Bahrain. An anonymous source told Sputnik in late September that US-mediated negotiations between the two nations were in the works. Nevertheless, Doha vocally opposed the Israel-UAE deal and underlined that a pact was Israel was out of question.

The monarchy also has strained diplomatic relations with some of its neighbours. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed their ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is viewed as a terrorist organisation by numerous countries in the region.

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