PA to receive Russian armored vehicles

Defense Ministry: Israel agrees to shipment of 25 unarmed vehicles to West Bank during Lavrov trip.

Israel has agreed to let Russia deliver 25 armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday - a move meant to bolster Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his struggle with Hamas. Russia had proposed shipping the armored vehicles to Palestinian security forces two years ago, but Israel initially balked, fearing the cars would fall into Hamas's hands. Later, the deal was bogged down by Palestinian plans to mount the vehicles with guns - something Israel refused to approve. Defense Ministry spokesman Ronen Moshe said the shipment of unarmed vehicles was authorized this week during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Palestinian officials weren't immediately available for comment. Israel will allow the delivery of 25 additional armored vehicles once Abbas's forces expand their control in the West Bank, Israeli defense officials have said.