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Iraq purchased 1,000 Russian missiles

Iraq has secretly purchased as many as 1,000 Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles, Newsweek magazine reports.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2003 00:55 IST

Iraq has secretly purchased as many as 1,000 Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missiles, Newsweek magazine reports in its issue due out Monday.

Baghdad bought the lightweight, powerful projectiles from Ukrainian arms dealers, the magazine said, quoting unnamed Pentagon officials, and possibly "some entrepreneurial Syrian generals or the Syrian government itself."

The Kornet antitank missiles were used to attack two US tanks, both Abrams M1A1s, the report said, "the first... ever destroyed by enemy fire in battle."

"US officials are worried about the skill or at least the fanaticism of the guerrilla fighters who sneaked up on the tanks diving a technical, a jeep, under cover of a sandstorm," the report said.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said military equipment was shipped into Iraq from neighbouring Syria, and warned the government in Damascus would be held accountable if such shipments did not stop.

First Published: Mar 31, 2003 00:49 IST