Lebanese Officials Deny Hezbollah Weapon Storage at Beirut Airport

Lebanese officials escorted journalists and diplomats to Beirut's International Airport to refute claims by the British newspaper The Telegraph that Hezbollah stores weapons there

by Sededin Dedovic
Lebanese Officials Deny Hezbollah Weapon Storage at Beirut Airport
© Francesca Volpi / Getty Images

Lebanese officials today took journalists and diplomats to Beirut's International Airport in an attempt to prove that the extremist organization Hezbollah does not store weapons there. The British newspaper The Telegraph reported on Sunday that airport workers claimed Hezbollah had shipped several deliveries of rockets through the airport.

The months-long conflict between Hezbollah and the Israeli military on the Lebanon-Israel border has intensified in recent weeks. Acting Lebanese Minister of Transport Ali Hamieh announced that the government would sue the British newspaper for defamation and lies.

Dismissing claims in the article that Hezbollah's weapon deliveries bypass airport security, the minister said the government trusts the security services and is satisfied with their work. Hezbollah and Israeli officials have intensified their exchange of threats, announcing they would attack key military and civilian infrastructure if the conflict escalates into a full-scale war, reports the Associated Press.

The Telegraph article states that Hezbollah holds Iranian missiles and explosives at Beirut airport, which is south of the city where the Shia organization is dominant. Hezbollah, armed and financed by Iran, opened a front against Israel on October 8 last year in support of its Palestinian ally Hamas, against which Israel is fighting in the Gaza Strip, recalls AFP.

A firefighter responds to a fire break out after a Hezbollah rocket attack on Northern Israel on June 13, 2024 in Golan Heights,© Amir Levy / Getty Images

The Telegraph also reports that airport employees noticed the delivery of "mysterious crates" to Beirut airport at the beginning of the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

Lebanese officials immediately denied these claims. Representatives of foreign embassies, including Egypt, Germany, and EU diplomats, as well as journalists, visited the warehouses of Lebanon's only international airport today.

The Minister of Transport assessed that the article in The Telegraph is part of a psychological war against Lebanon and damages the airport's reputation. Hezbollah did not comment on the article in the British daily. Israel bombed Beirut airport during the last war against Hezbollah in 2006.

U.S. Warns Israel

The top officer of the U.S. military warned that an Israeli offensive in Lebanon against Hezbollah, supported by Iran, would increase the risk of a broader conflict involving Iran. U.S. Air Force General Charles K.

Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that Iran would be "more inclined to provide greater support to Hezbollah," adding that these militants have more resources than Hamas, reports Voice of America.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated earlier that the "intensive phase" of the fight against Hamas in Gaza would end "very soon." However, he added that Israel would likely move troops to the border with Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu© Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The war in Gaza and the risk of a wider conflict will be the focus of today's talks in Washington between Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant with U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. "We are ready for any action that may be necessary in Gaza, Lebanon, and in multiple areas," Gallant said in a statement.

Netanyahu Claims Readiness for War on Multiple Fronts

"Israel is preparing to change the situation on the border with Lebanon, but hopes that it will not be necessary," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, speaking about the conflicts between the military and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Speaking to Israel's Channel 14 about the possibility of a full-scale war with Hezbollah, Netanyahu said if necessary: "We will face this challenge. We can fight on several fronts. We are ready for this." Regarding the war in the Gaza Strip, he said that the phase of intense fighting is coming to an end, but that the war will not end as long as Hamas controls the enclave.

Netanyahu said that Tel Aviv wants to establish "local clans" that will rule the Gaza Strip. He added that the re-establishment of Israeli settlements in Gaza "is not realistic" and would not serve the goals of the war. Violating a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, Israel faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive in the Gaza Strip, launched after an attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on October 7 last year.

Since then, more than 37,500 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, mostly women and children, and about 86,000 have been injured, according to local health authorities. Israel has been accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which recently ordered Israeli authorities to immediately halt their military operation in the southern city of Rafah.

"Israel should be afraid"

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah issued a stern warning to Israel, threatening a "war without limits and rules" in the event of a major Israeli offensive against Lebanon. "Everything the enemy says, the threats and warnings from intermediaries and what is said in the Israeli media about the war in Lebanon, does not scare us," Nasrallah said in a speech via video broadcast. He said that Israel is the one who should "be afraid."