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US OKs $5 bn sale of missile defense systems to Saudi, UAE

Saudi Arabia has faced recent rocket threats from Yemen's Houthis, such as this drone and missile attack on a Saudi aramco oil facility in Jeddah blamed on the rebels in March 2022
— Washington (AFP)

The United States announced Tuesday the sale of major missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth more than $5 billion.

The approval was announced two weeks after US President Joe Biden met leaders of the two countries in Saudi Arabia on a trip seen as crucial to strengthen frayed relations with them, and as both nations perceive a heightened threat from Iran.

The State Department said Saudi Arabia would buy 300 Patriot MIM-104E missile systems, which can be used to bring down at long-range incoming ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as attacking aircraft.

The value of the missiles and attendant equipment, trainings and parts is $3.05 billion, the department said.

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