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Israel urges the US to arm the Egyptian army

April 12, 2014 at 11:41 am

Israel is urging senior US officials and key congressmen to continue supplying the Egyptian army with 10 advanced Apache combat helicopters.

An Israeli official said supplying the Egyptian army with combat helicopters is crucial to fight “jihadist organisations” that are active in the Sinai. This will in turn enhance the security level in the region, the official explained.

Since the signing of a peace agreement with Israel, Egypt receives $1.3 billion in US military aid annually; however following the ousting of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi the US froze its military aid.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said the US Congress demands Egypt hold democratic elections and transfer state institutions in an orderly fashion from the military to a civilian and democratic government to renew the aid.

Haaretz noted that since Morsi was ousted, Egypt enhanced its security cooperation with Israel. In recent months, Israel has lobbied on behalf of the Egyptian interim government to prevent the US from freezing aid, it is now trying to convince the US administration and Congress to resume the aid and supply the Egyptian army with combat helicopters.

The newspaper quoted an Israeli official saying that the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, and other senior embassy diplomats discussed the matter last week with senior US officials and brought up the subject again with key congressmen. The Israeli official said: “Israel has made intensive mediation efforts in Congress against cancelling the Apache deal.”

The paper pointed out that an Egyptian delegation, including senior army officials and senior officials in the Foreign Ministry, visited Israel last week to enhance cooperation between the two sides. Quoting an Israeli official, the newspaper said the delegation spent a week in Israel during which they met senior Israeli officials and visited several sites in the country.