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Government denies involvement in Israeli air exercise

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The government has categorically denied any involvement in a reported Israeli air exercise last week aimed at simulating a response to an Iranian airstrike, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Monday.

Speaking on Monday, Letymbiotis said that “it is the policy of the Republic not to participate in such exercises”.

The report, initially surfaced on Israeli news channel i24, claimed that the Israeli air force conducted an exercise in Cyprus to simulate an Iranian attack.

He was then asked about the debate developing around the role of the British Bases in the Middle East conflict and in particular the fact that Royal Air Force fighters were involved in repelling Iran’s attack on Israel.

Letymbiotis recalled that under the treaty establishing the Republic of Cyprus, the British Bases on the island are sovereign and stressed that “everyone should understand what it would mean if such a debate were to be opened”.

Also, he cautioned against misinterpreting the actions of the bases as reflective of the Republic’s policy.

On Sunday, the Cyprus Peace Council expressed “its strong dissatisfaction in relation to recent reports that the Republic of Cyprus is actively participating in joint military exercises with Israel in a simulated attack against Iran, actively involving Cyprus in the intended Israeli plans to generalise war in the Middle East”.

They called on the government to explain how such an exercise serves the Cypriot people.

The group then mentioned a previous military exercise carried out with Israel in 2022 called Agapinor-2022.

“We recall that two years ago another simulated attack was carried out in Cyprus with Israeli commandos conducting military exercises in the streets of Paphos. Such a simulation is what the Palestinians have been experiencing in reality for the last six months with the military raid on Gaza,” they commented.

Throughout the duration of the Agapinor 2022 exercise, locals residing at a close distance from where it was carried out repeatedly complained about the noise produced by military vehicles and artillery.

It had also been condemned by opposition Akel.

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