Cyprus decides to buy Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system
Israel and Cyprus have deepened their defense cooperation in recent months, including soldier equipment purchases and joint drills.
Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system is set to be purchased for the Cypriot National Guard after its Defense Ministry’s approval, the Cyprus edition of the Kathimerini daily has reported.
According to the report on Friday, the agreement has been signed by both Israeli and Cypriot officials. The Israeli Defense Ministry did not respond to an inquiry about the reported deal.
The National Guard is reportedly eager to add the Iron Dome system to its arsenal, as its range would fully cover the areas needed by Cyprus. In particular, Kathimerini notes, the system is considered ideal for both air defense and countering the threat of Turkish drones. The report described Iron Dome as the best system of its type available, as seen in its effectiveness recently against rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
The head of the Cyprus National Guard, Lt. General Demokritos Zervakis, toured Israel as a guest of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi in early March. During the visit, the general toured the border with Lebanon and visited an Iron Dome battery.
In June, Cypus signed an agreement with Israel for personal protective equipment systems for Cyprus’s military. The equipment provided includes personal protective and tactical carrying systems developed by Source, and tactical carrying systems that were developed by Marom Dolphin.
“The defense cooperation between Cyprus and Israel continues to grow and extend,” Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides said at the time. “We are proud that this cooperation is in tandem with our excellent bilateral relations and reflect how neighboring countries should work for promoting peace and stability.”
“The Republic of Cyprus and the State of Israel maintain identical views and positions on the security of the Eastern Mediterranean based on international law,” Petrides continued. “The relations between our two countries extend beyond common interests and we shall work to further strengthen, expand and deepen our defense cooperation. We are delighted to have established a long-term, strategic partnership with the state of Israel in defense. It is mutually beneficial cooperation that fosters regional stability, security and prosperity.”
In May, the Israel Defense Forces conducted a joint drill with Cypriot National Guard forces simulating war against Hezbollah inside enemy territory, as part of the month-long “Chariots of Fire” exercise.
Gantz thanked Cyprus for hosting the IDF and joining the drills, stating that it “illustrates the strength of the strategic alliance” between Israel and Cyprus.