On October 2nd the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (حركة الجهاد الإسلامي في فلسطين), the al-Quds Brigades, took to the streets of Fatah in Southern Gaza to mark the 17th anniversary of the assassination of Fathi al-Shaqaqi. Shaqaqi was assassinated in Malta by the Mossad in 1995. Each year, the al-Quds Brigades take to the streets for a military parade to mark the event, brandishing a variety of arms and carrying all manner of banners and flags. This year’s parade, however, was a little different, and held some interesting items for those of us following the spread of various small arms. Amongst the usual assortment of Russian AKMs & Eastern Bloc copies, Chinese Type 56 variants, PKMs, and RPG-7 variants and copies were two far less common weapons: the F2000 and AK-103 assault rifles.
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I want to apologise for the pretty poor photography in this piece – all the weapons were behind dusty glass, in an unlit room, and the firearms themselves had (criminally, in my opinion!) been painted in cheap flat black and gloss brown paints on both the metal and wooden parts.
These eight Mosin Nagant Model 1944 Carbines (M44s) were sitting in a displaycase in the ‘Weapons Gallery’ at the Củ Chi Tunnels complex, just outside of Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon), Vietnam. I’m told that many (most?) of the tour guides bypass this room during the tour as it is out of the way, dimly lit and, frankly, probably not that interesting to a lot of people. I eschewed the guided tour, as I normally do, and instead spent the majority of my time here, and at the range. Of the eight examples here, five different manufacturers were represented, from four countries: Russia, Poland, Egypt, and China.