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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Syria Transfers Deadly Russian Weapons to Hezbollah — Paper

Tue, 8 Aug 2006, 00:19

The majority of the Israeli Defense Force’s ground-troop casualties, both infantry and armored, were the result of Russian-made anti-tank units of Hezbollah, according to intelligence sources quoted by Haaretz daily.

The same sources note that these units have not retreated from southern Lebanon following the deployment of large Israeli ground forces in the area.

The Hezbollah anti-tank teams use a new and particularly potent version of the Russian-made RPG, the RPG-29 that was sold by Moscow to the Syrians and then transferred to the Shi’ite organization.

The RPG-29’s penetrating power comes from its tandem warhead, and on a number of occasions has managed to get through the massive armor of the Merkava tanks.

At first Israeli inquiries that Russia was transferring modern anti-tank weapons to Syria and on to Hezbollah were received with anger. The Russians demanded proof that this had been done.

Contrary to common practice, Israel transferred to Russia the tail-end of a rocket for analysis. The Russian response was that in the absence of a serial number it was difficult to identify it as part of a load delivered to Syria.

Israel believes Hezbollah also has an advanced anti-aircraft missile, the SA-18, from Iran, the paper adds. It is particularly lethal against helicopters, and even though none of the missiles have been fired against Israeli Air Force aircraft, the flights over Lebanon are taking the necessary precautions.

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