JERUSALEM (Times of Israel) — Israelei Police have opened a criminal investigation into a drone manufacturer that allegedly attempted to bomb the Armenian military on behalf of Azerbaijan during a demonstration of one of its unmanned kamikaze aerial vehicles earlier this year.
“An investigation is ongoing against Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd. in regards to a deal with a significant customer,” police said in a statement Tuesday.
The Israel Police’s Unit of International Crime Investigations, known in Hebrew by its acronym Yahbal, is leading the investigation.
News of the investigation came out on Monday as an Israeli court approved a gag order for the case, limiting the information that can be published about it. For instance, police would not identify the “significant customer.”
In a statement, Aeronautics said it would “fully cooperate with any examination on any issue and would work to the best of its capabilities so the investigation will be as swift as possible.”
The gag order shows that the company has been under investigation since at least September 4, a few weeks after the initial allegations came out regarding its live-fire demonstration against Armenia.
The company has also reportedly had dealings with the Myanmar military junta, which is accused of ethnic cleansing for its treatment of the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority.
In late August, the Defense Ministry Defense Export Controls Agency halted Aeronautics’ export license for its Orbiter 1K model UAV to a “significant customer,” which the company reported to the Israeli stock exchange, as required by law.
As a rule, Israeli defense contractors refrain from naming their customers directly. However, it could be understood from the statement that the country in question was Azerbaijan.
The decision to halt the sale came approximately two weeks after a complaint was filed with the ministry saying that the company had, at the request of the Azeris, launched one of its Orbiter 1K model drones at Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Colonel Armen Gyozalian of the Armenian army said two soldiers were lightly wounded in the attack on July 7, according to the Armenian defense ministry’s “Hay Zinvor” news outlet.
Last year, Azerbaijan used another Israeli kamikaze drone, an Israeli Aerospace Industries Harop-model, in an attack on a bus that killed seven Armenians.
Israel has come under internal criticism for its cooperation with Azerbaijan over the country’s reported human rights violations, despite it being one of the few majority Muslim countries with which Israel enjoys an openly positive relationship.