Israel’s first F-35 fighter jets departed from Italy late Monday afternoon after being delayed for a couple of hours due to the local weather conditions. Hundreds of people had already arrived at the Nevatim Air Base to watch the welcoming ceremony that was scheduled for this afternoon. The ceremony will now take place at 7:30 PM when the planes arrive.
The “Mighty One” Photo Credit: Amos Dor/Channel 2 News
The two F-35 stealth planes Israel purchased from the US were supposed to land this afternoon in time for the scheduled 2:00 PM ceremony at the Nevatim Air Base. However, the planes’ departure was delayed due to the heavy fog conditions. The planes finally took off a few moments ago, several hours after their scheduled departure. The planes are expected to arrive around 7:30 PM.
The welcoming ceremony will take place when the planes arrive at the Israeli air base. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will deliver speeches during the ceremony.
F-35 jet Photo Credit: Amos Dor/Channel 2 News
“I don’t think that the planes will take off today,” an Italian official told Channel 2 News earlier today. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated: “The planes’ flight will be delayed because of the harsh weather conditions, heavy fog at the Italian airbase and the American safety regulations.” The Italians decided not to take risks because of the weather and delayed all of their flights in the entire region.
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An Israeli official criticized the delay, stating, “Israeli pilots would’ve departed already but the Americans work in accordance with protocols and don’t approve of bending their directives.”