FM teaches danger of shoulder-held missiles [pg. 4]

The threat posed by shoulder-held antiaircraft missiles to civil aviation will be the topic of a first-of-its-kind seminar to be held Wednesday at the Foreign Ministry. The conference will bring together experts from some 25 countries, including the US, Britain, France, Russia, China, Brazil and India - countries that regularly get together to talk about weapons issues. According to Foreign Ministry officials, Israel - which already faced this threat when two missiles narrowly missed an Arkia airliner carrying 261 passengers in Kenya in 2002 - views this as a real and immediate danger and is interested in mobilizing other countries to reduce the risks. The officials said international interest in the issue stemmed from a desire to keep terrorists from acquiring these weapons and that the efforts had become an integral part of global efforts to fight terrorism. The seminar will focus on steps the international community can take to lessen reduce this threat such as supervising the export of these missiles, and what can be done to protect airports and airplanes. Speakers at the seminar will include Roy Elhana from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) aviation security branch.