IAF helicopters 4.
(photo credit: IDF)
The Defense Ministry opened an investigation on Thursday after the Spanish
Interior Ministry contacted Israel and revealed that it had arrested a group of
businessmen trying to sell American helicopters formerly owned by Israel to
According to news sources in Spain, five Spanish businessmen and
three Iranians were arrested in an operation called “Nam,” during which nine
Bell-112 military transport helicopters were also seized. Israel had used the
Bell-112 up until the 1990s when it purchased the Sikorsky HU-60 Blackhawk as a
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Police estimate the value of the helicopters and
spare parts seized in the operation at about $140 million, AFP reported.
According to Spanish authorities, the Spanish businessmen bought the helicopters
from Israel and were trying to sell them to Iran.
The Defense Ministry
said it was “looking into the reports.”
Before selling US military
equipment, Israel is required to receive permission from the Pentagon. It also
generally has buyers sign documents obligating them to certain restrictions such
as not selling them to Iran.
“There was a group of Spanish citizens who
bought material, in this case helicopters, in Israel and then tried to sell them
to other nations to which you can’t export arms, like Iran,” Spanish Interior
Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba told a news conference on Thursday, AFP