US bomb shipment stops at UK airport

US agreed to rush "smart bombs" to Israel after outbreak of violence in North.

By NATHAN GUTTMAN, JPOST STAFF
July 27, 2006 14:46
1 minute read.
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British Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett criticized the United States on Thursday for failing to follow procedures for international arms shipments after a US plane carrying a shipment of "smart bombs" for Israel stopped for refueling at Scotland's Prestwick Airport, Sky News reported. The foreign secretary said that it appeared that safety regulations had not been observed. Beckett said that she had "already let the US know that this is an issue that appears to be seriously at fault," and that she intended to lodge a formal protest after she met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The US is rushing a delivery of "smart bombs" to Israel after Israel indicated it needed the bombs for its military campaign against the Hizbullah. The New York Times reported Saturday that the decision to rush the shipment was reached after little debate within the administration. The "smart bombs" - bombs which are equipped with precision guidance devises, are part of an arms deal reached months ago between Israel and the US, but the fighting in Lebanon led Israel to ask for an expedited delivery of the bombs, before the agreed scheduled of supply. According to the report, the US is stressing that the early shipment should not be seen as an emergency supply to help Israel, but rather as a change of schedule in a deal which was previously agreed upon. The American-Islamic group Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Bush administration to stop the deal, saying that the rush delivery at a time of war would be "unconscionable."


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