Israel to ask US to ok sale of laser air defences to anti-Iran Arab states, including Saudi Arabia

Israel to ask US to ok sale of laser air defences to anti-Iran Arab states, including Saudi Arabia
Israel is looking to ramp up military coordination with Arab states, as Joe Biden visits the region.
2 min read
28 June, 2022
Gantz has suggested that weapons could be sold to Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Israel will push the US to approve the sale of a new laser air defence system to Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, according to Israeli reports.

Israel wants to deliver the Iron Beam system to the UAE and "likely also Saudi Arabia", according to the Channel 12 news channel.

The system fires lasers to down drones and rockets and could be on the frontlines of a coalition of Arab states against Iran, Israeli media reported.

The news comes ahead of President Joe Biden's visit to the region, where the formation of an anti-Iran coalition - including Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia - is likely to top the agenda when he visits in July.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Monday suggested that Israel was already in talks with Saudi Arabia on the sale of the air defence system.

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Saudi Arabia and Israel have no diplomatic relations although there have been numerous reports to suggest that the two countries are cooperating on security issues, including on Iran.

"We are building our wide partnership with additional countries in the region to ensure a secure, stable and prosperous Middle East. Among other things, this also includes aerial defence," Gantz said on Monday, according to The Times of Israel.

"Of course, we are all preparing for Biden’s visit to the Middle East and Israel, which I hope will have a positive influence and maybe even bring a breakthrough in our ability to act against Iranian aggression in the region."

Israel recently normalised ties with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan with Saudi Arabia or Oman expected to follow suit, although there has been no official confirmation of this.

Israel and Arab states have been increasingly united on their growing hostility to Iran.