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Thursday, July 28, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel's readies new 'less-than-lethal' weapons
for anticipated Palestinians protests

TEL AVIV — The Israel Army has begun deploying new non-lethal weapons meant to quell Palestinian unrest.


Officials said the Army has begun operating a range of equipment to prepare for Palestinian unrest in September. They said the equipment — ordered from a $22 million budget allocation — included so-called less-than-lethal ammunition, tear gas, foul liquid and screeching devices meant to disperse civilians.

"We are training infantry and other units with this equipment and expect to be ready within a few weeks," an official said.

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On July 27, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas issued his first call for massive protests against Israel, Middle East Newsline reported. Abbas told a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization that the PA would encourage anti-Israeli demonstrations throughout the region.

"In this forthcoming period, we want mass action, organized and coordinated in every place," Abbas said. "This is a chance to raise our voices in front of the world and say that we want our rights."

So far, the Army has introduced a new .22 caliber bullet that could be fired from the U.S.-origin M-16 assault rifle, a staple in the military. Officials said the .22 bullet, deployed in June, could not kill when fired from a distance of at least 75 meters but could hurt or frighten most protesters.

Officials said snipers were being trained to disable Palestinian protest organizers. They cited the acquisition of impact rounds, designed to cause pain but not penetrate skin by snipers using the M-24 7.62mm rifle.

"The key will be knowing when to fire and whom to target," the official said.

Officials said Army instructors have been focusing on how to use less-than-lethal ammunition. They said the training, meant to take place in the southern base of Lachish, would also demonstrate such equipment as Scream and Skunk Bomb, which emits a screeching sound and a foul-smelling spray, respectively. Most of the equipment was expected to arrive in August.

The intensified training was based on the assessment that the PA would order thousands of people to confront Israeli soldiers and police in Jerusalem and the West Bank in September. The PA said it would seek international recognition for the unilateral declaration of a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The police and military have also been supplied with dozens of trucks fitted with water cannons. Officials said the Army would receive at least 24 such vehicles, which could also employ Skunk Bomb.

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