US blocks $500 million arms deal between Israel, Croatia
The United States is blocking an arms deal that would see 12 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets being sold from Israel to Croatia, Axios reported on Thursday.
The $500 million deal infuriated Washington which warned Jerusalem three weeks ago that the deal would be blocked because it had not been approved by the US before signed, Israeli officials told Axios.
The officials also said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the issue with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this week in Brussels. Pompeo reportedly said US Secretary of Defense James Mattis was the one blocking the deal.
Washington accused Jerusalem of selling the F-16 fighter jets equipped with new and sophisticated Israeli made electronic systems, so as to give at an edge compared to US made fighter jets.
In order for Israel to sell the jets to a third party such as Croatia, it needs an approval from the US which gives billions of dollars in aid to its Jewish ally every year.