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Friday, October 20, 2006

Israel Finds 39 Russian-Made Missiles in Hezbollah Hides

October 20th, 2006, 04:39

Military sources said the Israel Army has collected 39 Russian-origin anti-tank missiles from Hezbollah outposts in southern Lebanon, the World Tribune has reported. They said the missiles included the AT-14 Kornet and the AT-13 Metis.

“Some of the missiles were still in their original packaging, which identified them as having been manufactured in Russia,” a military source said.

The sources said photographs of the missiles were delivered to Russia in September as evidence that weapons exported by Moscow ended up with Hezbollah. They said the Kornets were exported to Syria in 2002.

“The [Israel] army also found bills of lading and serial numbers with the missiles,” the source said. “It is probable that some of these missiles that were ordered by Iran for Hezbollah via Syria.”

The Hezbollah acquisition of Russian-origin missiles was discussed during the visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Moscow. On Wednesday, Putin met Russian President Vladimir Putin in a discussion said to have focused on Iran’s nuclear program.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was also said to have met Olmert. Last week, the Defense Ministry ordered tighter supervision over Russia’s arms exports.

“The determination that there should be supervision over arms exports has been achieved,” Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon said on Thursday.

Putin was said to have been angered by Israeli evidence that Iran and Syria supplied Russian missiles to Hezbollah. But Putin was not expected to sanction the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a leading Middle East ally of Moscow.

“However, this does not mean that Russia will completely stop selling weapons to Iran and Syria, as the Israelis want,” the Moscow-based Vremya Novostei daily said on Wednesday. “Cooperation with Teheran and Damascus, including in the oil and gas and nuclear spheres, bring Moscow dividends — and not only material. Russia plays a unique middleman role.”
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