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Israel approves $9bn deal to buy US fighters, refueling tankers, choppers

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tanker refuels an F-16 mid-flight. (Photo by Boeing)

Israel’s security cabinet has approved a major arms deal worth billions of dollars with the United States to receive new fighter jets, refueling planes and heavy-lift helicopters.

The deal, worth $9 billion, will include F-35 and F-16 fighters, new troop-carrying helicopters, thousands of bombs and munitions, and four Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tankers, according to the Israeli media.

However, the final details of the deal have not become public yet.

The approval of the deal on Sunday ended a dispute between Israel’s ministry of military affairs and its ministry of finance over the payment method of the deal, as the latter’s opposition due to budgetary concerns was overruled.

It came after Washington set a deadline for the Israeli regime to either approve the deal in two weeks or lose its priority in US assembly lines, which could have led to a two-year delay in the implementation of the deal.

Back in March, the US approved a possible sale of up to eight KC-46 aircraft and related equipment to the Israeli regime for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion.

In October, former US President Donald Trump’s administration approved the sale of F-22 Raptor stealth aircraft to Israel so that the regime can maintain its alleged “military edge” in the Middle East after Washington agreed to sell F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates.

Prior to the deal with the UAE, minister of military affairs Benny Gantz said Israel would retain its purported military superiority in the region in spite of any possible deal between the US and the UAE.

Gantz suggested that Tel Aviv would demand compensation for any arms deal between the US and the UAE.

“We also make deals with the United States, and we can also get more platforms and systems. This is not a one-sided deal,” he said.

The new US administration suspended the sale of F-35 jets to the UAE just days after President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Under the deal, Abu Dhabi was supposed to receive 50 stealth F-35s and 18 advanced Reaper drones.

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