JERUSALEM — Two Azerbaijani military planes reportedly landed in Israel earlier this month, at the height of recent violent skirmishes between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the first week of April, a publicly accessible online flight database twice picked up a large cargo plane belonging to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry entering Israeli airspace and flying to the Uvda military airfield in the south of the country, according to the report in the Israeli daily Haaretz.
The Ilyushin 76 cargo plane arrived in Israel on April 4 and again on April 6, according to an internet flight database. The plane, which flies under the call sign AZAF8 (Azerbaijani Air Force 8) came from the direction of Turkey, flew over Cyprus and entered Israeli airspace over Tel Aviv, according to the report.
The plane remained on the ground for two to three hours each time before taking off again for Baku. It is not clear whether the plane unloaded cargo or loaded it, Haaretz said.
The plane, which bears the registration number “K-781314” on the side, has been owned by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry since September 1, 2014.
This is not the first time Israel has been accused of helping Azerbaijan in the conflict, but allowing an Azerbaijani military aircraft to land in Israel would represent an upgrade in cooperation between the two countries, which have long maintained cordial ties.
In the same week that the planes are said to have landed in Israel, reports emerged that the Azerbaijani army had used an Israeli-made attack drone to target an Armenian convoy in the region.
A press spokesman for Armenia’s Defense Ministry said on his Facebook page that the Azerbaijani army was using the Israeli-made kamikaze Harop drone. The Harop is small enough to be able to skirt enemy aircraft detection systems and can find targets by radar or radio wave, as well as by remote piloting.