Last summer the United States thwarted the sale of used Cobra helicopters by Israel to Nigeria, Israeli media has reported.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the US blocked the deal “due to fears that civilians would be harmed during the use of the helicopters in Nigeria.”
In 2013, the Israeli Air Force took US Cobra aircrafts out of active service after they had been used for 30 years. “Since the Cobras were retired and the helicopter squadron shut down, the Israeli Ministry of Defence has been looking to sell the helicopters,” Haaretz added.
According to reports, the Israeli Ministry of Defence reached an agreement with Nigeria regarding the sale of the helicopters, but the US prevented the deal going any further out of fear that the Nigerian military would use them without giving due attention to the safety of civilians. Last November, the US State Department also declared that it stopped the deal because of its concern regarding Nigeria’s ability to use such aircraft in its fight against Boko Haram.
The New York Times newspaper reported earlier this month that the cancellation of the deal has caused tensions in relations between Nigeria and Washington.
Haaretz reported that, according to an Israeli security official, the Cobra aircrafts might be eventually sold to an African country. It pointed out that in recent years Israel has increased the sale of weapons to the continent. According to the Ministry Defence’s data, 2013 saw the peak of weapons sales to Africa, with the size of exports reaching $233 million worth of arms and military technology.