09:38 GMT21 January 2021
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    “They develop offensive missiles here that can reach any place in the region and any target,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

    Speaking at the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries near Tel Aviv and standing in front of a display of weapons that he had just toured, Netanyahu explained, "This is an offensive force that belongs to the State of Israel and is relevant for all of our different fronts," according to a report by Jerusalem Post.

    The prime minister, who is also Israel's defense minister following the November 14 resignation of Avigdor Lieberman, said, "There is a group of minds and people here who develop the best of the defenses needed for the State of Israel. This includes micro satellites that are fired into space and some missiles that you see here behind me. Space is a huge field that the State of Israel is entering."

    The politician further discussed other defense matters, such as Israel's imminent sale of a dozen F-16C/D Barak fighter aircraft to Croatia, a deal that the US and Lockheed Martin have blocked as the three countries figures out what to do with intellectual property on the aircraft. Specifically, someone has to pony up some money to take certain systems off the F-18s before they can be delivered to Zagreb.

    Some reports suggested the Trump administration was furious with the $500 million F-18 sale and blocked it on the grounds that Israel was profiting from US-made equipment that was paid for with US taxpayer funds.

    Croatian Defense Minister Damir Krstičević denied reports that Washington had blocked the deal, Sputnik reported.

    Netanyahu assured reporters that he had intervened in the F-18 sale to Croatia personally, saying, "This is ongoing between the countries, and I have dealt with this personally," adding that it remains "too early to say anything clear about this."


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