Israeli prime minister lands in Bahrain on first state visit

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett landed in Bahrain on Monday in the highest-level visit since the countries established relations under a 2020 US-sponsored deal based in part on shared worries about Iran.

Bennett will meet with Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, his office said.

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“The leaders will discuss additional ways to strengthen bilateral ties... especially the advancement of diplomatic and economic issues, with an emphasis on technology and innovation,” it said in a statement.

The two-day trip to Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Gulf headquarters, comes amid heightened tensions after missile attacks on neighboring United Arab Emirates by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis. Israel also normalized ties with the UAE in 2020.

Israel has stepped up cooperation with the Gulf states.

Manama hosted Israel’s defense minister on February 2 and has said an Israeli military officer will be posted in Bahrain as part of an international coalition.

On the commercial front, Israel has reported rising trade with Bahrain that reached $6.5 billion last year. There are direct flights between the countries.

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