The Telegraph reports a large quantity of Austrian made .50 caliber sniper rifles were seized in Baghdad
On the heals of a U.S. military presentation which provided evidence of Iranian made Explosively formed projectiles, mortars and other weapons being supplied to to Iraqi terrorists, as well as evidence of Iranian Qods Force operatives captured in Iraq, The Telegraph reports a significant quantity of Iranian owned sniper rifles have been seized in Iraq. Over twelve percent of Iran’s Steyr HS50 sniper rifles purchased by the “National Iranian Police Organisation” in 2005 have been found inside Iraq. The Telegraph’s Thomas Harding reports:
More than 100 of the .50 calibre weapons, capable of penetrating body armour, have been discovered by American troops during raids. The guns were part of a shipment of 800 rifles that the Austrian company, Steyr-Mannlicher, exported legally to Iran last year…
Within 45 days of the first HS50 Steyr Mannlicher rifles arriving in Iran, an American officer in an armoured vehicle was shot dead by an Iraqi insurgent using the weapon. Over the last six months American forces have found small caches of the £10,000 [about $19,500] rifles but in the last 24 hours a raid in Baghdad brought the total to more than 100, US defence sources reported…
The transfer of the deadly sniper rifles provides irrefutable proof Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqi terrorists. While not stated in the article, the weapons can be directly traced back to Iran as the serial numbers have been recorded prior to the sale and transfer.
The quantities of the weapons that have been seized on the Iraqi battlefield make it difficult for the Iranians to argue this was the work of a rogue individual. The weapons were in the hands of Iranian police, nd almost immediately wound up in the hands of Iraqi insurgents (withing 45 days). The one hundred plus rifles found are only what the Coalition can prove are in Iraq. All indications are the sniper rifles were purchased with the explicit purpose of being provided to Iraqi groups intending to kill American forces in Iraq.
It should be noted that the information provided by the U.S. military during Sunday’s briefing, as well as the information on the sniper rifles, is what the military can prove with 100% certainty. The military has strong intelligence Iran is supplying other weapons to terrorists, including anti-aircraft missiles, which have been responsible for the recent rash of helicopters downed in central Iraq. In today’s politicized environment, intelligence must now meet the evidence standards of a criminal case.