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Germany to resume arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia with Iris-T missiles

In World
January 10, 2024

BERLIN – Germany has approved the delivery of 150 IRIS-T air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia, a government spokesperson said on Wednesday, resuming arms exports to the kingdom banned since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

The deal was authorised by Germany’s federal security council in December, a security source familiar with the matter said, echoing a report by Spiegel news magazine.

The IRIS-T missiles, produced by German arms maker Diehl, are fired by Saudi-Arabia’s Eurofighter jets.

The new batch which is yet to be delivered is meant to replenish Saudi stocks depleted over the past years, the source said, adding the missiles had lately also been used to shoot down drones fired from Houthi-controlled Yemen.

In a major shift of policy, both Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said this week the government in Berlin would no longer stand in the way of British plans to sell additional Eurofighters to Riyadh.

The Eurofighter project is a joint British, German, Italian and Spanish effort.

In December, Baerbock strongly condemned attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea from Houthi-controlled Yemen and thanked Riyadh for helping thwart similar attacks by shooting down drones and missiles.

Germany had banned arms exports to the kingdom following Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. REUTERS

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