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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
UK cleared of aiding bomb flights
Bomb damage in Lebanon
Israel launched air strikes in southern Lebanon
The government did not knowingly assist "acts of terrorism" by allowing US aircraft carrying bombs to Israel to stop at UK airports, a judge has ruled.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) claimed in the High Court the flights encouraged Israel's campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Peter Carter QC, for the IHRC, told the judge that the UK was assisting in "disproportionate military attacks".

The IHRC's attempt to get an injunction halting such stopovers was rejected.

'Aiding and abetting'

The US flights were en route to Israel when they stopped at Prestwick Airport, near Glasgow, and later RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.

A judge in London dismissed a plea by the IHRC for permission to seek a judicial review and an injunction against the government, based on the argument that it was knowingly assisting "acts of terrorism" by Israel in its campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Ouseley said at the start of his judgment that the IHRC had failed to establish "an arguable case by a very long way".

He had been urged to rule that the UK was "guilty of aiding and abetting breaches of international law" by allowing American planes in transit, carrying bombs and detonators to Israel, to land at Prestwick.

The IHRC had sought permission to bring proceedings against the Civil Aviation Authority, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Defence Secretary Des Brown, to stop "grave and serious violations" of international humanitarian law and "crimes" against the Geneva Convention.

The IHR is an independent campaign, research and advocacy organisation based in London.

The body said it brought the case after receiving "many complaints" from British citizens whose family members are in Lebanon and "facing grave danger as well as acts of terror".

Mr Carter QC, said the government "knew that the arms shipments would encourage Israel to continue its attacks, in the knowledge that supplies would be replenished by the US".

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We welcome the court's decision reaffirming that the government's actions were legal."

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