JERUSALEM – The rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists that hit an Israeli school bus driving near Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council in the south of Israel last week was Russian made, an Israeli official told the Israeli daily newspaper, Yediot Aharonot.
Unlike many other types of weapons, the anti-tank Kornet is only manufactured in Russia’s KBP factory. “It was smuggled into Gaza with Syria and Iran’s help,” the official said.
The revelation threatened to touch off a diplomatic crisis, as Israel protested the fact that a Russian missile found its way to Hamas and was used for a terror attack against Israel.
It isn’t the first time in recent years that Russian weapons have passed through Syria for use against Israel.
In 2006, Russia denied that Kornet missiles sold to Syria were used by Hezbollah to target Israeli tanks in the Lebanon War – despite Israel’s presentation of hard evidence supporting its allegation.
At that time, after Israel proved its allegation, the United States imposed sanctions on KBP.
“The missile was smuggled into the Gaza Strip with the help of external elements such as Syria and Iran, who constantly try to arm Hamas with improved and advanced weapons for attacks,” the Israeli official said. “Israel was only recently able to prevent a huge arms shipment from being smuggled in, which included surface-to-sea missiles from Iran. Based on this it’s easy to understand Israel’s objection to free passage of ships into the Gaza Strip. Hostile elements try to destroy this policy with so-called ‘humanitarian’ flotillas.”
This is not the first time Israel has officially protested with regard to this issue. Following a meeting with Pyotr Stegny, Israeli officials have met with Pytor Stegny, the Russian Ambassador to Israel, who promised to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials suspect that perhaps hundreds of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles have been robbed from the Libyan army by rebels and could have already been passed to Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.