The United States began Thursday delivery of eight F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, according to its embassy in Cairo, the first since Washington fully lifted in March a freeze on arms delivery.
The operation comes as Secretary of State John Kerry’s prepares to visit Cairo for a “strategic dialogue” Sunday amid a warming in ties that were strained after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Following the overthrow of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, Washington froze $1.3 billion (€1.2 billion) in annual military aid to Egypt.
It fully resumed assistance in March, and Cairo took delivery of two US fast missile boats last month. Washington had already delivered 10 Apache helicopters in December.
The eight F-16 Block 52 jets “are being flown in directly from the United States, and will be immediately integrated into the Egyptian air force, joining its existing fleet of F-16 aircraft,” the embassy said.
All eight from this first batch will arrive by Friday, with four more to be delivered later this year.