Serbia exported arms to Israel at the end of last year

The BIRN investigative website reported on Tuesday that the Serbian authorities have exported at least a million euros worth of weapons to Israel since the Hamas attacks in October 2023.

BIRN said that it asked the Ministry of Internal and External Trade for data on weapons exports to Israel but was told that the information is classified. It said that the reply was not customary since information on weapons exports are routinely provided to journalists by the ministry.

The portal said that an investigation revealed that at least two shipments worth about a million euros had been sent to Israel since last October by the state-owned Yugoimport-SDPR Company. The information came from Customs Authority records, it said.

BIRN said that the state-owned Prvi Partizan ammunition plant exported goods worth some 780,000 Euro to Israel in March and April 2023.

The first shipment was in October 2023 and it was ammunition for assault rifles produced in 2022 in the Serbian arms factory Belom, allegedly used by the Serbian armed group in the attack in Banjska, northern Kosovo, on September 24, which resulted in the killing of a Kosovo policeman.

However, while the ministry labelled the information secret, BIRN has found out that at least two shipments of arms or ammunition to Israel took place since the October 2023 Hamas attack, worth over a million euros.

The information comes from the customs data of Checkpoint, a portal that collects the Serbian state’s trade information related to business entities.

From this, it can be seen that Serbia’s main state-owned arms trader, Yugoimport-SDPR, exported goods to Israel worth 540,120 euros in October and 510,000 euros in February.

The data does not show whether new export licenses were issued by the Serbian state for exports to Israel in this period.

The data does not show many such major exports to Israel before October. The state-owned ammunition production factory Prvi Partizan, in Uzice, western Serbia, exported around 780,000 euros worth of goods to Israel in March and April 2023.

After Hamas militants’ surprise attack against Israel on October 7, killing over a thousand people, Israel launched a full-on attack on Gaza, killing 31,045 civilians, the majority of whom are children and women, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health.

The International Court of Justice on 26 January agreed to consider a South African case that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza and provisionally ordered it to allow the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has so far rejected a cease-fire, also denying accusations of genocide.

(BIRN, Balkan Insight, 13.03.2024)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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