Islamic Spring… Anti-Aircraft Missiles Flow Into Gaza From Rebel-Held Areas in Libya
Libyan rebels gesture as they travel on a tank past Bin Jawad while on their way to Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte August 29, 2011. Libyan forces converged on Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte on Monday, hoping to seal their revolution by seizing the last bastions of a fallen but perhaps still dangerous strongman. (REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori)
Anti-aircraft missiles have been flowing into Gaza from rebel-held areas of Libya.
Palestinians in Gaza have acquired anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets from Libya during its six-month civil war, enlarging but not significantly improving their arsenal, Israeli officials said on Monday.
While the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi has stirred concern abroad about the fate of Libya’s aging chemical weapons stockpiles, Israel has no indication Hamas or other Palestinian factions have sought these, the officials said.
Instead, Israeli officials have detected an inflow of SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), said one official, describing an overland supply route that opened up between eastern Libya — after it fell to the rebels — and the Gaza Strip via Egypt.
“We’ve been seeing more SA-7s and RPGs coming across,” said the official. “It’s not a major qualitative enhancement for them.”
The Soviet-designed SA-7 is a shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missile which Israel said Palestinians had previously smuggled into Gaza. Rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), designed to penetrate armor, are plentiful in the territory.
Another Israeli official said “thousands” of the weapons had reached Gaza in recent months, but did not provide figures on how many had originated in Libya.
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