London, May 27: British defence contractors selling arms to Israel has reached a record level, new figures revealed on Sunday. Figures from the Campaign Against Arms Trade revealed that last year the UK issued 221 million pounds ($294 million) worth of arms licences to defence companies exporting to Israel, reports the Guardian.
This made Israel the UK's eighth largest market for UK arms companies, a huge increase on the previous year's figure of 86 million pounds, a substantial rise from the 20 million pounds worth of arms licensed in 2015.
In total, over the past five years, Israel has bought more than 350 million pounds worth of UK military hardware.
Licences issued to UK defence contractors exporting to Israel last year include those targeting equipment, small arms ammunition, missiles, weapon sights and sniper rifles.
In 2016 the UK issued licences for anti-armour ammunition, gun mountings, components for air-to-air missiles, targeting equipment, components for assault rifles, components for grenade-launchers and anti-riot shields.
The revelation comes just days after it was confirmed that Prince William will represent the UK government on a visit to Israel next month, the Guardian reported.
"After the appallingly excessive response of the Israeli security forces at the Gaza border, tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories are likely to be close to the boiling point when Prince William makes this historic visit," said Kerry Moscogiuri, Amnesty International UK's Campaigns Director.