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Swiss arms Swiss-made grenades used in Turkish attack

The Swiss army training with HG 85 practice grenades

(Keystone)

Swiss hand grenades were found on the perpetrators of the March 2014 attack in Turkey’s central Anatolian region of Nigde, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday.

The attack left two Turkish security personnel and one civilian truck driver dead and is considered the first to be carried out in that country by the Islamic State militant group.

Following the 2014 attack, police in Turkey – a NATO member and part of the US-led coalition against Islamic State – seized rifles, guns and hand grenades at the scene.

A Turkish court in June sentenced three members of IS to multiple life jail terms and a fourth member to several years in prison over the attack. 

Four high-explosive grenades, two HG85 types and two OHG92 types, were found among the possessions of two of the men when they were arrested, Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick reported (in German)external link. Both are citizens of Serbia and Montenegro. One of the men grew up in canton Aargau, where his parents still live, and is now in a Turkish high-security prison.

The grenades originally were part of a huge shipment that the Swiss state-owned Ruag companyexternal link manufactured and sold to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2003, the newspaper said, citing the indictment.

Indirect route

But a spokesperson for Ruag, Jiri Paukert, said the company only sells to countries that meet criteria imposed on Swiss exports. 

"Weapons were not sold directly to terrorists," Paukert said. "Ruag has never delivered military equipment to Syria."

In recent years, the Swiss government has tightened its arms exports to the UAE and reviewed sales to other countries following an inquiry into the discovery of Swiss-made hand grenades in Syria.

Results of a joint Swiss-UAE investigation found that the grenades discovered in Syria were part of a shipment to the Emirates in 2003 and 2004.

A total of 225,162 grenades were sent to the UAE armed forces in 2003, while Swiss arms exports to Syria were stopped in 1998.

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