HUFFINGTON POST

Israel Arms Sales In 2012 Rose By 20 Percent: Report

An Israeli soldier prepares artillery shells as troops keep position on November 20, 2012 on the Israel-Gaza border. A ceasef
An Israeli soldier prepares artillery shells as troops keep position on November 20, 2012 on the Israel-Gaza border. A ceasefire to end almost a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip is to be announced in Cairo, Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources told AFP. AFP PHOTO/JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli arms exports rose by 20 percent to $7 billion (5.3 billion euros) in 2012, according to defence ministry estimates cited by the Haaretz newspaper on Thursday.

The increase comes despite the global economic crisis, which has seen many states cut down on weapons purchases.

If confirmed, it would nearly match the recent peak of $7.2 billion figure achieved in 2010 before a fall last year.

The defence ministry was not able to confirm the report, with a spokesman saying final 2012 export figures would only be available at the end of the first quarter.

Part of the hike is due to a major arms deal with Italy, which will see Israel buying Italian-made combat training jets, the paper said. In return, Rome agreed to make $1 billion in purchases from Israeli defence industries.

During 2013, the ministry expects to see an increase in sales to Azerbaijan, Brazil, Poland and Vietnam, and is aiming to increase exports to an annual $10 billion within a few years, it said.

Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.

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