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Israel allows US to deploy Iron Dome missile defence system in the Gulf: Report

Israeli officials refuse to reveal in which countries the system will be deployed, according to Israeli newspaper
Report of US deal on Iron Domes comes against backdrop of Israel's normalisation accords with the UAE and Bahrain (AFP)

The United States is expected to soon begin deploying the Israeli-manufactured Iron Dome missile defence system in its bases in the Gulf States, according to an Israeli newspaper.

Three weeks ago, Israel handed over a second Iron Dome battery developed by the country's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems to the US Defense Department as part of an agreement for two Iron Dome batteries signed between the US and Israel in August 2019, Haaretz reported.

The report comes against the backdrop of recent normalisation accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and two large US arms deals, one with the UAE and the other with Saudi Arabia.

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"I am certain that the system will help the US army defend American soldiers against ballistic and aerial threats," said Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz at the time of ceremony for delivering the second battery.

Haaretz said Israeli officials were refusing to reveal in which countries the Iron Dome system would be deployed but that behind closed doors Israel gave its tacit agreement to the US to place the batteries in order to defend its forces from attacks by Iran and its proxies.

In September 2018, a Saudi newspaper reported that Riyadh had signed an agreement to purchase an Iron Dome battery from Israel with the US acting as a mediator. 

The Israeli defence ministry quickly denied any deal had been signed but did not deny that the Saudis had asked to purchase the system.

After an attack on oil refineries and facilities of national oil company Aramco in Saudi Arabia in September 2019, the Saudis and other countries again raised their requests to buy the missile system to defend against an Iranian threat, defence officials told Haaretz. 

The newspaper said Israeli officials denied that providing Iron Dome systems was part of the recent normalisation agreements because the purchase of the Iron Dome batteries by the US was signed in 2019, well before the accords.

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