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12:50 PM, December 7, 2017
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First-ever pictures about first flight of Qatari Emiri Air Force Rafale EQ01 2: Dassault Photo

Qatar and France today signed $12 billion in deals including the purchase of 12 Dassault Rafale jets with an option to buy 36 more fighter planes.

The deals were signed between Qatar's Emir and French President Emmanuel Macron during the French president's visit to Doha on Thursday.

Qatar has previously signed up to buy 24 Rafale jets and had retained options to buy 12 more. With today's deal signing, it has exercised that options taking its total order book to 36.

If it proceeds with the 36 additional option, its total number of Rafale jets with it will go up to 72, making it the biggest operator of Rafale fighter jets in the world after France.

Macron is traveling with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who in 2015 as defense minister helped negotiate a deal with Qatar to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets.

Macron's one-day trip to the small Gulf nation comes as it faces continued isolation and a boycott by some of its Arab neighbors.

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