Protest over 'weapons flights' stopover

MORE flights carrying suspected arms shipments to Israel could be routed via Suffolk despite fierce protests outside one of the county's American airbases.

MORE flights carrying suspected arms shipments to Israel could be routed via Suffolk despite fierce protests outside one of the county's American airbases.

About 30 campaigners gathered at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk after two US flights carrying “hazardous” cargoes landed at the airbase over the weekend.

But the Foreign and Commonwealth Office last night warned that further flights would be allowed to land in Suffolk as long as the correct procedures were followed.

Peter Lanyon, 73, an ex-serviceman and a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), said: “We are horrified and condemn entirely the weapons transports to the Middle East. This will only add to the worsening humanitarian crisis.


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“These flights are probably carrying bunker-buster missiles and, because Britain has told America to fly these things through our midst, everyone who goes about their daily lives without saying something is allowing the Government to get away with it.

“We wanted a ceasefire from the very moment this conflict started. We are disgusted that the British Government didn't go along with that and instead sided with the Americans.”

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He said yesterday's protest was attended by representatives from the Norfolk and Suffolk branches of the CND, the Campaign Against American Bases, the Quakers and the Norfolk branch of the Jewish Peace Group.

Anti-war protesters in Scotland claimed a small victory at the weekend after two planes traveling from Texas to Tel Aviv were diverted from Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire to RAF Mildenhall.

Operator Atlas Air had earlier been given permission by the UK air authorities to land the “hazardous” cargoes in the UK.

Campaigners claimed the flights are the latest in a series of weapons transfers from the US to Israel which have used the airport as a stopover.

A spokesman for the American base said the two the Atlas Air cargo flights, which arrived late on Saturday night, had both already left.

He said the crew of the planes had been allowed to stop to rest and refuel but he was unable to say what cargo they were carrying.

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We will not provide details on any flights. As long as they follow the proper procedures we will allow similar flights through.”

The protest came after Israel announced a 48-hour ceasefire of aerial bombardment following the destruction of Qana, with the loss of dozens of innocent civilian lives including 30 children.

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