Britain checking report US sent bombs to Israel via Scotland
27 July 2006
LONDON – The British government was on Thursday investigating a report that two cargo planes carrying bunker-busting “smart bombs” from the United States to Israel made a stopover in Scotland, a spokesman said.
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said on Wednesday that she had raised the report with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and would issue a formal complaint to Washington if it is found to be true.
“We’re following up on what the foreign secretary of state (Beckett) said last night,” a Foreign Office spokesman told AFP without elaborating.
The Daily Telegraph said two chartered Airbus A310 cargo planes that were filled with GBU28 laser-guided bombs landed at Scotland’s Prestwick airport over the weekend for refuelling and for the crew to rest on the way to Israel.
It said the Israelis want the 5,000 pound smart bombs to attack bunkers being used by leaders from the Lebanese Shia Muslim Hezbollah militia, during the conflict in Lebanon.
Responding to a question asking whether it was acceptable for a British airport to be used as a staging post for the transport of weapons, Beckett told Channel 4 News Wednesday: “No I am not happy about it.
“Not least because it appears that in so far as there are procedures for the handling of that kind of cargo — hazardous cargoes irrespective of what they are — it does appear that they were not followed.
“I have already let the United States know that this is an issue that appears to be seriously at fault … that we will be making a formal protest if it appears that that is what has happened.
“We are still looking into the facts, but I have already notified the United States that we are not happy about it.”
It has also been claimed in past months that Prestwick Airport was used by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for so-called ”extraordinary rendition” flights to transport security suspects to third countries where they may have been tortured.