An Israeli official confirmed to foreign press Wednesday that neighboring Egypt is buying the same S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system Iran bought from Russia.
The sale had been previously published in Russian media, but Egypt has not formally acknowledged the sale, according to Channel 10.
"If you speak about the S-300, they (Egypt) are buying this system," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "I don't know what kind of threat Egypt looks at when they decide to buy it, but we don't see Egypt as the enemy."
Specifically, Egypt has bought a variant on the S-300 system – the Antey-2500, according to the news agency. The S-300 is a long range surface-to-air missile – manufactured by the Russian firm Almaz – designed to intercept aircraft and cruise missiles, and its most advanced models can also target ballistic missiles.
A US official commented on the announcement that Israelis have expressed "misgivings" over the deal but seem "resigned to it."
An anonymous Egyptian official stated that, in terms of the missile system's defense capabilities, "if we were to buy a system like this, it's because we're looking eastward, not northward," referencing the Sinai desert, which has been overrun by ISIS-affiliated groups. "We have money under the mattress."