Israel's Netanyahu thanks Saudi Arabia after emergency plane landing in Jeddah

© Menahem Kahana, AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday thanked authorities in Saudi Arabia -- with which his country has no formal ties -- for their "warm attitude" following an emergency aircraft landing in Jeddah.

The Air Seychelles flight laden with Israeli passengers was heading from the Seychelles to Tel Aviv.

Saudi airspace had been closed to flights to and from Israel until July 2022, when it opened to coincide with a visit by US President Joe Biden to the region.

The Air Seychelles flight made an emergency landing Monday in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah due to technical difficulties.

On Tuesday the Israeli foreign ministry said an Israeli charter flight had retrieved the Israelis from Jeddah.

"I greatly appreciate the warm attitude of the Saudi authorities to the Israeli passengers whose flight was in distress and was compelled to make an emergency landing in Jeddah," Netanyahu said in a brief video statement.

According to Israeli media, there were 128 Israeli passengers aboard the Air Seychelles flight. They were welcomed and given overnight accommodation in the Red Sea city.

Riyadh and Washington have held talks on Saudi conditions for progress on normalisation, according to people briefed on the meetings.


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