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US approves sale of missiles to Egypt as it launches first air strikes in Yemen

April 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

The US State Department has approved the sale of 356 AGM-114K/R3 Hellfire II Missiles to Egypt, the Defence Security Cooperation Agency announced on 8 April. The sale of the missiles, which were requested by Egypt, is estimated to cost $57 million.

It is the first military sale by the US to Egypt since the Obama administration announced on 31 March that it would lift the hold on the delivery of military equipment including F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles, and M1A1 tanks. The ban had been in place since the overthrow of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi in October 2013.

The move comes as the Obama administration hopes to strengthen ties with the Egyptian regime and promote shared objectives in the region. In a White House statement, Obama spoke of “shared challenges to US and Egyptian interests in an unstable region”, quoted from a phone call with Al-Sisi on 31 March.

The approval for the Hellfire missiles also comes as Egypt began its first airstrikes against the Houthi targets in Yemen on 9 April, according to Al Jazeera.

The US has also expressed support to the Saudi-led coalition for carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen.