Report: Hezbollah obtained advanced missiles - Israel worries Syria might provide weapons from new Russian deal (WND-WORLD NET DAILY) By Aaron Klein 02/01/05 1:00 a.m. Eastern)
WND} WORLD NET DAILY
WND} WORLD NET DAILY Articles-Index-Top
Israeli officials say Hezbollah has obtained an advanced surface-to-
air missile, forcing Israeli aircraft to fly at higher altitudes and
underscoring fears missiles Russia is selling to Syria may be handed
over to terrorists.
A report in Israel´s Maariv daily Hebrew edition quoted Israeli
officials saying Hezbollah has acquired SAM-18 anti-aircraft missiles
from a former Soviet republic other than Russia, prompting Israeli
air force jets to fly higher while nearing the Israeli-Lebanese
border. The SAM-18 is a high-altitude, infrared-capable, heat-seeking
missile that homes on and attacks the primary source of heat
detected. The missiles are considered moderately advanced, and would
be the most potent missile known to be in Hezbollah´s arsenal.
The report strengthens American and Israeli objections to a deal
Russia made last week to sell Syria the advanced SA-18 surface-to-air
missile, an improved version of the Strela missile with a larger
warhead, extended range and higher speed. Sources said the sale is
the first transfer in a larger missile package that includes another
anti-aircraft missile system mounted on armored personnel carriers
and a surface missile capable of engaging multiple targets at once.
U.S. and Israeli officials have been urging Russia to limit the scope
of its missile sale to Syria and have expressed concern the weapons
could be passed to Hezbollah or to insurgents for use against U.S.
forces in Iraq.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the missiles will not find
their way to terrorists.
"We have the ability to know exactly where these missiles are
located," Putin said. He added the missiles are mounted on vehicles
and cannot operate if they are detached from them.
Syrian president Bashar Assad told Russia´s State Institute for
Foreign Relations last week the weapons sold by Russia "are for air
defense, meant to prevent aircraft from intruding in our airspace. If
Israel objects to our acquisition of these defensive weapons, it is
as if it is saying, ´We want to attack Syria but we do not want them
to defend themselves.´ That´s not logical."
WorldNetDaily reported the missile sales were part of a major weapons
agreement between Putin and Syrian president Bashar Assad in which
Russia pledged to upgrade Syria´s military and sell to it advanced
Putin also pledged joint business ventures, including projects
focusing on the development of oil and gas resources in Syria, and
agreed to write-off 73 percent of Syria´s $13.4 billion debt to
Russia. (© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com, Inc. 02/01/05)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY