Israel’s national carrier El Al will launch direct flights to Morocco on Sunday as relations between the two countries continue to evolve following the normalization of their relations in December 2020.

The first direct flight numbered LY 553 is scheduled to take off at 11:30 am local time from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport to Morocco’s southwest city of Marrakech.

The flight comes ahead of a planned visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Morocco at the end of July.

On Dec. 10, 2020, Israel and Morocco announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between them after they were suspended in 2002 following the second Palestinian intifada, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to normalize relations with Israel in 2020 after the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan.

The normalization deals have since drawn widespread condemnations from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara

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