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US Forces Contradict Newspaper Report: “No Austrian weapons found with terrorists.”

Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Wiener Zeitung

Vienna

Having started as Steyrgate now ends up as a soap bubble. An English newspaper had reported in February that armour piercing sniper rifles made by the Austrian company Steyr Mannlicher were found in the hands of Iraqi terrorists. But now the US Central Command, being responsible for the forces at the gulf, is contrary with that article. “No Austrian weapons have been found in Iraq,” declared Lieutenant Scott Miller on Thursday under discussion with the “Wiener Zeitung”. “There have been relevant rumours but these rumours have not been confirmed.” Further details have not been announced yet.

Austria also taken off the pillory

Steyr-owner Franz Holzschuh was highly delighted for having been taken off the pillory but he is not going to further observe the affair. “Let sleeping dogs lie. I am glad that dust has settled on the case,” says Holzschuh. However, he reacted visibly relieved due to the clarification of the case that had discredited Steyr Mannlicher as well as the Austrian Government.

The “Daily Telegraph” had reported in February that more than 100 sniper rifles model HS50 had been found in Bagdad in the course of a raid by the US troops. The rifles derived supposedly from a shipment to the Iranian security forces in 2005 that had been approved by the Austrian government. Unfortunately, the editor of the relevant article was not reachable for a statement.

The case was politically relevant as England and the USA had vehemently criticized the business with Iran. Both considered that the rifles could end up in the hands of terrorists in Iraq.

The newspaper report seemed to confirm this apprehension and affirm the embargo imposed by the USA against Steyr Mannlicher. The embargo shall, by the way, expire at the end of this year.

Original article

With friendly permission of Wiener Zeitung