TURKISH ARMY ORDERS SNIPER RIFLES FOR USE ON PKK LEADERS
The Turkish daily Hürriyet reports that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have purchased 350 Finnish “Lapua” sniper rifles at a cost of $15,000 each (November 24). The weapons are intended for use against the PKK leadership cadre in the mountains of southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. The weapons, together with new telescopic sights, bullets that penetrate body armor at a distance of 0.6 miles and hand-held computers that measure wind-speed and humidity, will be issued to Special Forces graduates of the TSK’s sniper school at Tuzla. The new rifles will replace the 1958 pattern “Dragunov” sniper rifle, and have a maximum range of 1.1 miles. The record for a confirmed kill by a sniper is 1.5 miles, set in 2002 by a Canadian corporal using a McMillan TAC-50 in Afghanistan during fighting against al-Qaeda. Meanwhile Azeri reports claim that the PKK has purchased $1.8 million worth of arms—including Stinger and Strela missiles—from Armenian and Iraqi sources in the last year (Azeri-Press Agency, November 15). The report claims the information is based on an analysis by Turkish intelligence, but this could not be confirmed.
BASQUE TERRORISTS ISSUE NEW MANUAL ON EVASION AND SECRECY
Spanish police have seized several copies of a new manual issued to members of the Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) terrorist group (El Pais, November 26). Described as taking the form of a “self-help booklet,” the manual is meant to address an indifference to security within the ETA that has resulted in the arrest of dozens of ETA operatives since the organization abandoned a ceasefire last June. Members are urged to use aliases, be non-specific in discussing meeting places and use text messages and public telephones for communications rather than cell phones. The new manual has been issued just as the ETA is coming under increased pressure from Spanish and French authorities. Three ETA suspects wanted for murders in the 1980s were arrested by French police in the last week (EiTB, November 26). Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed last week to crush the ETA as part of his platform for next year’s general elections.