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Saudi Arabia buying drones from Israel via South Africa: Opposition activist

An Israeli Heron TP surveillance drone (file photo)

Saudi Arabia is purchasing drones from Israel and is using South Africa as an intermediary, reveals a Saudi political activist. 

The claims were made by a Saudi opposition activist who uses the Twitter handle “Mujtahidd”. He is well-known for publishing controversial information concerning the Saudi royal family and has amassed a vast social media following since he became active in the early 2000s.

He made the claims on Wednesday, in response to an announcement by the Saudi Defense Ministry that Riyadh would build a drone manufacturing plant with the cooperation of South Africa.

"The report aims to hide the fact that Saudi Arabia intends to purchase drones from Israel via South Africa," Mujtahidd twitted on Wednesday.

"Saudi Arabia buys Israeli drones through South Africa. These drones later arrive from South Africa, dismantled, to Saudi Arabia, where they are assembled,” he added.

He went on to accuse Saudi Defense Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud of fraud and treason for hiding the true nature of the drone transactions.

According to a list compiled by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Saudi Arabia became the world’s third largest military spender in 2015, despite facing a budget deficit of nearly $100 billion caused by a sharp slump in oil prices as well as its rising army expenditure, a large amount of which is being funneled into a military campaign against Yemen where at least 8,400 people have been killed and over 16,000 injured since March last year.

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