TEL AVIV ø Hizbullah has been training Palestinian insurgents to
destroy low-flying Israeli civilian aircraft over the West Bank.
Israeli security sources said Hizbullah has been instructing Palestinian
groups on ways to intercept slow-moving and low-flying passenger jets with
the use of rocket-propelled grenades and Kassam-class short-range
missiles. The sources said Hizbullah has also been trying to smuggle SAM-7
short-range, man-portable surface-to-air missiles to the West Bank and Gaza
So far, the sources said, neither the Palestinian Authority nor
Palestinian insurgency groups was believed to have deployed SAM-7s in the
West Bank. But the sources said Hamas has succeeded in establishing an
infrastructure for the Kassam and RPGs in workshops in the area.
"Much of the terror in the Palestinian arena today comes from Lebanon
and Damascus," Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said, according to Middle East Newsline.
Damascus, it arises from the orders of the Palestinian terrorist organizations. In
Lebanon, Hizbullah has constructed an infrastructure that conducts terror in
the Palestinian sphere with Iranian backing, which gives each terrorist in
Nablus $20,000 to $40,000 per attack. This is a lot of money. They also give
training, encouragement, smuggle munitions, provide experts and advanced
Iranian-made munitions in the Palestinian arena."
The sources said Hizbullah has been training Palestinian
insurgents to use Kassams, mortars and RPGs to knock out planes taking off
from or landing at Ben-Gurion Airport, located just inside the pre-1967
The Israeli Maariv daily reported that Israeli authorities have
prevented nine Palestinian attempts to shoot down civilian flights around
Ben-Gurion. In a report on Feb. 20, the daily did not elaborate.
In 2003, Israel sought to construct a security fence through the West
Bank that would prevent Palestinians from reaching within five kilometers of
the airport. The Israeli aim was to neutralize any SAM-7 attacks on civilian
aircraft entering Israel.
But a U.S. security delegation examined Ben-Gurion and deemed that the
insurgency anti-aircraft threat was minimal.