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Israel sells 'suicide drones' to Azerbaijan, pop video reveals

'IAI Harop' drone, produced by Israel, shown in militaristic pop video in praise of Azeri border defences
A still from the video shows singer Narmin Karimbayova flanked by Azerbaijani warships (screenshot)

An Azerbaijani pop music video has revealed Israel has sold the country high-tech "suicide drones" which loiter over the battlefield for hours before homing in on their targets.

The video shows singer Narmin Karimbayova praising the Azerbaijan State Border Service while tanks, trucks and weaponry are paraded alongside her.

Released earlier this month, the video has been viewed more than 50,000 times and features clips of the longstanding Azerbaijan president, Ilham Aliyev.

Just under two minutes into the video appears the IAI Harop loitering munition system, an Israeli anti-radiation "suicide drone" that zeroes in on radio emissions produced by radar.

The video shows the drone being fired from a missile battery mounted on a truck:

According to Haaretz, the Harop is capable of carrying warheads of up to 15kg and allows attacks from different angles, with the operator having control of the system right up to the point of impact.

Israel and Azerbaijan have been close allies for at least 20 years, since the latter became independent from the Soviet Union.

Aliyev said his country had bought nearly $5bn in Israeli military equipment in 2016, specifically the Iron Dome missile system.

“So far the contracts between Azerbaijani and Israeli companies with respect to purchasing defence equipment have been close to $5bn,” Aliyev said. 

“More precisely, $4.85bn.”

Israel has also supported Azerbaijan in its dispute with neighbouring Armenia over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

In 2016 the Armenian defence ministry said a Azeri army drone manufactured by IAI killed seven Armenian "volunteers".

In August 2017, it was reported that the Israeli defence ministry and police were investigating an Israeli weapons manufacturer after allegations they live-tested a drone on an Armenian army position, while trying to sell the vehicle to Azerbaijan.

This week has seen a build-up of Azerbaijani forces on the border with Armenia as the latter was engulfed by political turmoil leading to the resignation of prime minister Serzh Sargsyan on Monday.

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