Palestinians, Kurds have
anti-aircraft missiles

Monday, December 1, 2003

The Palestinian Authority has procured Soviet- and U.S.-origin anti-aircraft, according to a congressional report.

The report said the PA and Palestinian insurgency groups have procured a range of surface-to-air missiles that endangers Western aircraft. The report cited the SA-7 and the Stinger missiles.

In a report entitled "Homeland Security: Protecting Airliners from Terrorist Missiles," the Congressional Research Service did not confirm that the Palestinians have these missiles. The study, issued in November, cited reports of Palestinian procurement of anti-aircraft missiles, Middle East Newsline reported.

The report said Palestinian insurgents have missiles in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. Authored by Christopher Bolkcom, Bartholomew Elias and Andrew Feickert, the report cited the Syrian-sponsored Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which had acquired an unspecified model of an infrared anti-aircraft missile.

The report confirmed that Hizbullah has also acquired the SA-7. Hizbullah was also said to have procured the Chinese-origin QW-1 and the Stinger missiles.

Other insurgency groups in the Middle East have also acquired anti-aircraft missiles. The report said the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK, has been confirmed to have procured the SA-7 and Stinger. Al Qaida was said to have obtained Stinger, SA-7 and British Blowpipe missiles.

"Estimates of shoulder-fired SAMs in terrorist hands vary considerably," the report said. "Estimates range from 5,000 to 150,000 of various missile types, but most experts agree that the vast majority of them are IR guided and are likely SA-7 derivatives, versions of which are reportedly possessed by at least 56 countries."

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