France denies supplying arms for Gaza war

AFP , Tuesday 26 Mar 2024

France's defense minister on Tuesday denied allegations from investigative journalists that France supplied components for ammunition used by the Israeli army in its Gaza campaign.

 Sebastien Lecornu
French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu. AFP


Marseille-based firm Eurolinks had sold Israel M27 links, metal pieces used to join rifle cartridges into ammunition belts for machine guns, investigative websites Disclose and Marsactu wrote.

Such ammunition "could have been used against civilians in the Gaza strip," they claimed.

The investigative outlets' reporting was supported by photos of the links which they said were taken on October 23, weeks after intense Gaza fighting triggered on Oct.7.

AFP was unable to verify the reported shipment.

But Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu told reporters in Paris that Eurolinks' license to export to Israeli firm IMI Systems "only covers re-export to third countries" rather than use by the Israeli army.

Left-wingers have called for France to follow Canada's example and stop all arms exports to Israel.

MP Mathilde Pinot, a leader of the France Unbowed (LFI) opposition party, described the exports as a "massive scandal", accusing Lecornu of "lying" in a recent parliamentary hearing.

The minister told the National Assembly lower house's defense committee last month that France's policy on arms for Israel was "irreproachable", with recent deliveries covering items like "ball bearings, glass, cooling systems" and sensors.

"In general, these are arms planned to be re-exported from Israel to other customers," he added at the time.

Lecornu said he had ordered civil servants to be "even stricter" in examining exports to Israel since October 7.

France did issue licenses for parts for Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system, he acknowledged.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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