Israel rushes airliner defenses as Libya leaks SAMs

November 14, 2011

(Reuters) – Israel has accelerated the installation of anti-missile defences on its airliners, a security official said on Friday, seeing an enhanced risk of attack by militants using looted Libyan arms.

Jets flown by El Al (ELAL.TA) and two other Israeli carriers are being equipped with a locally made system known as C-Music that uses a laser to “blind” heat-seeking missiles, the official said, giving a 2013 target for fitting most of the fleet.

As a stop-gap, Israel is adapting air force counter-measures for use aboard civilian planes, said the official, who declined to elaborate on the technologies involved, or to be identified.

“We have long been aware of the threat and were ahead of the rest of the world in preparing for it. Libya has meant government orders to step things up even further,” the official said, citing intelligence assessments that chaos during the North African nation’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi allowed trafficking of Libyan shoulder-fired missiles to Palestinians and al Qaeda-linked groups in the Egyptian Sinai.

Israel began deploying another system, “Flight Guard”, on El Al after al Qaeda tried to shoot down a planeload of Israeli tourists in Kenya in 2002. Flight Guard’s use of diversionary flares set off safety concerns abroad and the Israelis turned to C-Music, manufactured by Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT.TA).

According to the Israeli official, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is covering the $1 million to $1.5 million that it costs to fit C-Music to each plane.

The bathtub-sized pods, built into the planes’ bodies, increase drag in flight, meaning “a few million (dollars) a year” in extra fuel expenses, the official said, adding that this, too, would be borne by the government.

Israel’s main international gateway, Ben-Gurion Airport, is 10 km (6 miles) from the occupied West Bank where, along with the Islamist-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinians want a state.

The Israeli official said he had no information indicating the presence of anti-aircraft missiles in the West Bank — unlike in Gaza, which has seen an influx of smuggled weaponry from Egypt since Israel withdrew settlers and soldiers in 2005.

The official said Netanyahu had, in closed-door discussions, described C-Music as a way to help reassure the Israeli public about security should the government one day return occupied land to the Palestinians under a peace agreement.

Asked for confirmation, Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, quoted him as saying that “in any possible peace deal there have to be effective security arrangements that can deal with a range of security threats, including shoulder-fired missiles”.

Israel also wants to protect traffic to its small airport in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, which abuts Jordan and Egypt, where Islamist militants have operated in the past. Armed infiltrators killed eight Israelis on the Egyptian border on August 18.


Abu Nidal

March 2, 2010

Communist Poland sheltered and armed Palestinian extremists in the 1980s, including the founder of Fatah-Revolutionary Council and terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal.
“They had dirty hands,” General Czeslaw Kiszczak, who served as interior minister in the 1980s, told Poland’s TVN commercial television station late on Monday..

“We closed our eyes to the fact that they would come to Poland to rest and for medical attention after attacks and to train for new ones,” said Kiszczak, who was also the right hand of Poland’s then leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski.
According to Kiszczak, Poland also sold them arms.
“It was in the Polish interest to sell them the largest possible quantity of arms,”
Kiszczak said in a TVN program focused on finding traces of Abu Nidal’s activities in Poland.
While he was wanted across the globe as the mastermind behind various attacks, Sabri al-Banna, known under the alias Abu Nidal, managed a company in Poland in the 1980s identified as SAS by the TVN report.
Source: AP via docstalk.blogspot.com

Abu Nidal died in Iraq in August 2002.

Part of the secular, left-wing, Palestinian rejectionist front, so called because they reject proposals for a peaceful settlement with Israel, the ANO was formed after a split in 1974 between Abu Nidal and Yasser Arafat‘s Fatah faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Setting himself up as a freelance contractor, Abu Nidal is believed to have ordered attacks in 20 countries, killing or injuring over 900 people. The group’s most notorious attacks were on the El Al ticket counters at Rome and Vienna airports in December 1985, when Arab gunmen high on amphetamines opened fire on passengers in simultaneous shootings, killing 18 and wounding 120. Patrick Seale, Abu Nidal’s biographer, wrote of the attacks that their “random cruelty marked them as typical Abu Nidal operations”.
Abu Nidal died of between one and four gunshot wounds in Baghdad in August 2002. Palestinian sources believe he was killed on the orders of Saddam Hussein, but the Iraqi government insisted he had committed suicide. The Guardian wrote on the news of his death: “He was the patriot turned psychopath. He served only himself, only the warped personal drives that pushed him into hideous crime. He was the ultimate mercenary.”

In October 2008, a report from the former Iraqi “Special Intelligence Unit M4” was obtained by Robert Fisk, indicating that the Iraqis had been interrogating Abu Nidal as a suspected spy for Kuwait and Egypt, and indirectly for the U.S.; the documents say he had been asked by the Kuwaitis to find links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. It was shortly after the first series of interrogations, and just before he was to be moved to a more secure location, that he shot himself, the report says.
According to the Iraqi report, he was buried on August 29, 2002 in al-Karakh’s Islamic cemetery in Baghdad, in a grave marked only “M7”.