Israel will sell batteries of its Iron Dome missile defense system to regional ally Azerbaijan, unconfirmed reports in that country’s media claimed on Tuesday.
An Azeri lawmaker told local outlets that the short-range missile defense batteries were ready for delivery. There was no indication of when they were to arrive, however.
The announcement in the Azeri press came weeks after Armenia showcased its newly acquired Russian-made Iskander short-range missile batteries in its Independence Day parade on September 21.
Tuesday’s reports could not be independently confirmed. Earlier this year a former Azeri military commander claimed the country had already purchased four of the missile defense batteries from Israel.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have warred for years over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but ruled by Armenian separatists.
Fighting between the two sides flared up earlier this year. Armenian forces claimed Azerbaijan deployed Israeli-made kamikaze drones in a battle against Armenian “volunteers.” A video released online claimed to show the Harop drone carry out a strike on a bus, killing several.
Azerbaijan is Israel’s biggest oil supplier, a key recipient of Israeli arms, and a partner in a complicated three-way dance with Iran.
The two countries signed a $1.4 billion defense deal in February 2012 which focused on drones and missile defense systems.
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