British Night-Sights 'Used by Hezbollah'

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 21, 2006 | Go to article overview

British Night-Sights 'Used by Hezbollah'


Byline: ANNA DAVIS

ISRAEL has accused Britain of indirectly supplying Hezbollah fighters with military equipment.

An investigation was launched after Israeli troops found nightvision equipment stamped with the words "made in Britain" in Hezbollah command bunkers.

Israel said the equipment was used to help Hezbollah fighters target soldiers in Lebanon.

The Israeli government formally protested about the find after it emerged that Britain sold 250 nightvision systems to Iran in 2003 for use against drug smugglers.

Israel is demanding to know whether it is the same equipment that ended up in the hands of Hezbollah. Urgent checks are being made to compare serial numbers on the equipment found in the Hezbollah bunkers with those on the ones exported to Iran.

Foreign Office officials said early indications suggest they are not the same.

There is what amounts to an arms embargo against Iran, but the 250 night-vision systems were given a special export licence as they were intended to be used by Iranian police to stop heroin and opium coming into the country from Afghanistan. Any nightvisionequipment of military specification needs an export licence and the investigation will look into whether any British company might have breached regulations. …

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