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Lebanon Denies Reports That Hezbollah is Being Allowed to Use Beirut Airport to Smuggle and Stockpile Weapons

Lebanon Denies Reports That Hezbollah is Being Allowed to Use Beirut Airport to Smuggle and Stockpile Weapons

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Lebanese officials have dismissed a claim made by the British newspaper The Telegraph that Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport was being used by the militia group Hezbollah to smuggle and stockpile weapons flown in from Iran.

Caretaker Transport Minister Ali Hamieh, who was nominated to the position by the political wing of Hezbollah, described the claims, which relied on anonymous whistleblowers cited by the newspaper, as “ridiculous”.

Describing the report as defamatory, Hamieh said that the British Ministry of Transport had toured the airport in January and found no evidence of weapons smuggling or stockpiling.

Hamieh also invited journalists and consular staff to take part in a guided tour of the airport’s facilities on Monday to prove that there were no weapons.

Whistleblowers cited by The Telegraph claimed they had seen “unusually big boxes” arriving at the airport on international flights and that high-level Hezbollah commanders had been spotted at the airport.

Some of the weapons reported to be at the airport, according to the newspaper, included Falaq unguided artillery rockets, Fateh-110 short-range missiles, road-mobile ballistic missiles and M-600 missiles.

Other weapons said to be at the airport included T-14 Kornets, laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles and the explosive substance RDX.

Hamieh says he is preparing to take legal action against The Telegraph over the claims.

In recent days, there have been online rumours that Israel has warned nations that it is friendly with that it is preparing an attack on Beirut Airport. In 2006, Israel bombed the runways at Beirut Airport, shutting down the airfield for some time.

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