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Bahrain national airline to begin direct flights to and from Israel in June

Gulf Air announces flights from Manama to Tel Aviv with economy class tickets expected to cost $299, in latest result of Abraham Accords

A Gulf Air passenger plane , Aug. 5, 2016, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
A Gulf Air passenger plane , Aug. 5, 2016, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Bahrain’s national airline Gulf Air announced Sunday that it will begin offering direct flights between Manama and Tel Aviv on June 3.

Economy class tickets are expected to cost around $299 per seat, the airline said. Israeli airlines are also expected to establish routes to Bahrain soon.

The flights are the latest in a series of moves linking Israel closer to the Gulf since the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state under the Abraham Accords, a pact brokered under former US president Donald Trump.

Morocco and Sudan have normalized ties as well.

The UAE’s Flydubai and Etihad have since started flying to Tel Aviv, while Israel’s El Al and Arkia are also flying the route.

The agreements broke with the longstanding Arab notion that there should be no normalization with Israel until it reaches a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.

Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia has so far refrained from formalizing ties with Israel but has given the green light to overflights from the Jewish state, in an implicit sign of approval.

After the UAE deal was announced by Trump in August, El Al flew a delegation of US and Israeli officials — led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — to Abu Dhabi in a historic direct service between the two countries.

That was followed by an official visit by a UAE delegation to Tel Aviv as well as a string of charter flights carrying business groups, before commercial flights were established.

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