04/20/2021

The joint US and Moroccan military exercise are affecting air traffic on Spanish Island (Canary Islands)

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The Now Canarias federation has denounced “the military deployment of the Sixth Fleet of the United States Navy” north of La Graciosa. These military maneuvers between Morocco and the USA “Lightning Handshake“, “are affecting the air traffic with the Canary Islands”.

As explained in a statement, “The United States and Morocco have deployed some naval units” north of the Canary Islands, between twelve and 50 nautical miles north of the island of La Graciosa, with “the participation of one of the flagships of the American war machine, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight Eisenshower. ”

“The operations are included in the NATO guidelines, in which Spain plays a supporting role due to the proximity of the Canary Islands and the Rota base in Cádiz, one of the two headquarters of the Sixth Fleet in Europe,” he adds.

In the maneuvers, he details that “5,000 soldiers participate, with the aforementioned aircraft carrier, missile cruisers, the 22 squadron of destroyers, with fighter planes and helicopters, as well as Moroccan naval and air units, which are part of the collaboration with Morocco, one of the the great allies of the United States in the area, with the addition that under the mandate of Donald Trump, Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara was recognized. ”

“These military maneuvers are affecting air traffic with the Canary Islands, especially connections with the Spanish peninsula and other destinations on the European and African continent,” says Now Canarias, which states that “according to air sources, in recent days several planes have had they have to suddenly divert their routes, when they find themselves in the vicinity of US fighter planes. ”

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To these “incidents”, he points out that we must add “the warning from ENAIRE, the Spanish air traffic control operator, about the risk posed by the Saharan area near the islands in the face of the military conflict between the Sahrawi Arab Republic and Morocco.”

Meanwhile, the Lightning Handshake military exercise between the US and Morocco continues.

Ships include the flagship USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69); and the ships of Destroyer Squadron 22, which includes the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Porter (DDG 78).

Moroccan assets include the Royal Moroccan Navy Fagata Tarik Ben Ziyad (SIGMA Class Frigate) HQ Royal Naval Maritime Operations Center (MOC) Royal Air Force HQ Air Operations Center (AOC), a Panther Helicopter,F-16 and F-5 fighter jets.