Weapons linked to Paris attacks made in Serbia | News | DW | 11.12.2015
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Weapons linked to Paris attacks made in Serbia

At least seven of the guns connected to the Paris shooters were made in Serbian Zastava factory, a company official said. One of the weapons allegedly found its way back to Europe after Zastava exported it to the US.

Interpol and the French police asked the Serbian interior ministry to check serial numbers of seven firearms after the Paris attacks, head of Serbian Zastava arms factory Milojko Brzakovic said Friday.

"We were given numbers of weapons and confirmed that all had been manufactured in Zastava and we delivered information where these weapons ended up," he told the AFP news agency.

Most of the weapons, including several modified versions of the Soviet-designed AK47, were delivered to army bases in various Yugoslavian republics before the country fell apart in the series of ethnic wars in the 1990s.

All of the guns were produced and sold legally, according to Brzakovic.

From Serbia to the US

The company officials also matched one serial number from Paris to a so-called "shortened Kalashnikov" that was shipped overseas two years ago.

"A semi-automatic pistol PV M92 was produced in our factory and legally exported to the (Florida-based) company Century International Arms in May 2013."

US arms dealers list the price of the weapon at around $460 (420 euros).

Century Arms allegedly buys up to 25,000 hunting and sporting guns from Zastava every year.

American companies need permission from the State Department to ship weapons out the country legally. The US does not publicly provide names of licensed weapons exporters.

'Nothing goes out'

Brzakovic insisted that Zastava cannot be blamed if the weapons were re-sold illegally.

"We have strictly controlled trade of arms and military equipment, nothing goes out of the factory without the approval of the Serbian government and export license," Brzakovic said.

Two of the Zastava-made rifles were shipped to Croatia, one to Bosnia, one to Macedonia and the last one to Slovenia, according to the company records.

"Wherever there are wars, there are bigger possibilities for abuse and to hide the channels for guns," Brzakovic told the AP news agency. "They end up where they shouldn't."

dj/jil (AFP, AP)

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