The school bus hit by an anti-tank missile
Photo: Roee Idan
A diplomatic crisis is threatening Israel-Russia relations after the Kornet, a Russian-made anti-tank missile, hit an Israeli school bus driving near Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council last Thursday.
Israel protested the fact that a Russian missile found its way to Hamas and was used for a terror attack against Israel, Yediot Ahronot reported.
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Unlike may other means of warfare the manufacturing of the Kornet is only permitted inside Russia, so any Kornet missile sold outside the country originates from the country's KBP factory.
In the past, the United States government imposed sanctions on KBP after Israel proved missiles made in the factory were sold to Syria and eventually ended up in Hezbollah hands.
After the 2006 Lebanon War Israel presented Russia with evidence proving Kornet missiles sold to Syria hit Israeli tanks. The Russians denied all allegations.
Now Israel claimed the anti-tank missile, which hit the bus last week, was sold by the Russians to Syria. At the time, Syria passed the weapons to Hezbollah, while breaching its contract with Russia. They were then smuggled into the Gaza Strip and ended up in the hands of Hamas terrorists.
Israel claimed these missiles violate the balance of power and that attacking a children's school bus with it is considered a war crime.
"The missile was smuggled into the Gaza Strip with the help of external elements such as Syria and Iran, who constantly try to arm Hamas with improved and advanced weapons for attacks," a State official said.
"Israel was only recently able to prevent a huge arms shipment from being smuggled in, which included surface-to-sea missiles from Iran. Based on this it's easy to understand Israel's objection to free passage of ships into the Gaza Strip. Hostile elements try to destroy this policy with so-called 'humanitarian' flotillas," he added.
Israel protested the issue many times, including during a meeting between Israeli officials and Russian Ambassador to Israel Pyotr Stegny. Russia then promised to look into Israel's claims.
Israel has asked Russia to not sell arms that violate the balance of powers to Syria, warning the weapons usually make their way to Hezbollah. Now Israel added Hamas to that list.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials fear that dozens, if not hundreds, of shoulder-mounted missiles have been robbed from the Libyan army and have ended up in armories of Mideast terror organizations.
The biggest concern is that some of the missiles were taken by rebels who in turn will pass them on to Gaza Strip terrorists. These missiles include anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
Israel has updated the US, the United Nations and the European Union on the alarming issue.
Udi Etzion contributed to the report
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