The U.S. State Department announced Thursday that it has approved the sale of $ 650 million worth of advanced technology missiles to Saudi Arabia to help protect the country from drone strikes.
Riyadh will purchase the 280 AIM-120C medium-range missiles and related equipment.
According to a spokesman for the department, the Arabs had already used this type of missile to intercept drone strikes from Yemen, which threatened Saudi and US forces inside the country. We have seen an increase in cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia over the past year, ”he said.
Riyadh is leading the fight against the Houthi rebels in Yemen with Iranian support. US officials say Iran has provided drones to the rebels.
The sale comes as US President Joe Biden’s government is cautiously restricting support for the Saudis, amid concerns over its tough tactics against Houthis and human rights abuses.
A State Department spokesman stressed that missiles could not be used against ground targets. He said their sale was “fully in line with the government’s commitment to lead diplomacy to end the conflict in Yemen, while Saudi Arabia has a way of defending itself from airstrikes by pro – Iranian Houthis.”
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