ACTIVISTS from Palestine Action and Extinction Rebellion claim they are occupying the Elbit-Ferranti factory in Waterhead, where they say deadly weapons are being made.

Several have blocked the entrance of the Israeli-owned Elbit Ferranti factory in Greenacres Road by chaining the gates closed after breaking into the site in the early hours early today (Monday, February 1).

Two climbed onto a ledge on the front of the factory, pouring blood-red paint down the front and spray-painting the words “Shut Elbit Down”.

As of yet no arrests have been made and activists say they are preventing all access to the building.

There was no response from the Elbit land telephone line this morning and no-one was available for comment from the company.

The action marks the first time the two direct action groups have joined forces.

The groups say the new union sends a strong message to Israel's largest arms firm Elbit that resistance in the UK to alleged hostility to the Palestinians is growing.

Extinction Rebellion North and Palestine Action say they plan to escalate their direct action against Elbit until it is shut down for good.

The groups also condemn what they claim is the British government's deepening relationship with Elbit Systems, which produces surveillance technology for Israel and 85 per cent of the Israeli military's drone fleet.

The protest comes after the Ministry of Defence handed Elbit a £102million contract for new "sensor to shoot" systems, earlier this month.

Since 2018, the British government has bought £45m worth of military equipment from the arms firm.

Extinction Rebellion and Palestine Action was the UK government to end its relationship with Elbit and what they claim is its "complicity in Israeli apartheid".

Commenting on the first collaboration between the two groups, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion North said: “We stand resolutely against the apartheid and genocide of the Palestinian people, we will not accept an economy based on devastation, occupation and war. Our communities deserve and want a sustainable, fair and healthy future, for all people.

"We recognise the overlapping injustice and exploitation that reinforce the struggles so many of us face. Whether it’s poverty wages, obscene inequality, the destruction of our living world, or racist oppression."

A member of Palestine Action said about the two groups' intersecting demands: "The UK government has profited from the colonisation of Palestine for over 100 years. Now, they're allowing Elbit to manufacturer weapons here in the UK which have been "battle-tested" on Palestinian civilians."

Elbit Ferranti in Oldham was bought by Elbit Systems in 2007 for £15m.

Activists from the Manchester Palastine Action group carried out a similar assault on the Oldham factory when they scaled the roof in summer of 2019.