Hezbollah Denies Arms Smuggling Claims by Israeli Official
Israeli claims that Hezbollah smuggles arms through Beirut is an attempt to rally the international community against Lebanon, says Hezbollah official.
In a televised speech aired on Friday by the Hezbollah-run Manar TV, the leader of the Lebanese Islamist Hezbollah party, Hassan Nasrallah, denied the latest remarks by the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations that Hezbollah uses Beirut’s seaport to smuggle weaponry into Lebanon.
The head of the political and armed party vehemently refuted the remarks, which he described as mere allegations aimed at mobilizing the international community against Lebanon and eventually bringing in multi-national forces to monitor the country’s territorial waters, land borders and airspace.
“I totally deny those claims by Israel’s representative to the U.N.’s Security Council that Hezbollah uses Beirut port to transfer weapons or weapons’ components into Lebanon,” Nasrallah said, as Al Jazeera reported.
Nasrallah’s denial came in response to a speech by Israel’s U.N. envoy, Danny Danon, this past Tuesday, in which he told the Security Council that back in 2018, Israel learned that Hezbollah and the forces that belong to the Islamist Republic of Iran have exploited civilian maritime routes for smuggling. Danon believed that the Beirut seaport is now the port of the Iran-backed Hezbollah party.
Arms Smuggling ‘Map’
Danon showed the Security Council session a map which he alleged demonstrated channels of arms smuggling and included the Syrian Damascus Airport and Beirut International Airport.
Lebanon’s ambassador to the U.N., Amal Mudallali, also refuted the Israeli ambassador’s claims, noting that such claims pose “direct threats” to Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure.
In June, Citizen Truth reported that both Lebanon and Israel are likely to engage in U.S.-mediated talks over the exploration of oil and natural gas in international waters off Lebanon.
The Hezbollah party was created in the early 1980s, following the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, with backing from Iran. The party resisted the Israeli occupation of the Lebanese territory until Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000. Since then, Hezbollah has morphed into a political party, with arms in hand.
Back in 2006, Hezbollah engaged in a war with Israel after the latter invaded southern Lebanon and attacked civilian and military targets. The Lebanese Islamist Shia party was able to defend the Israeli invasion and emerge victorious in the war, which claimed the lives of 1,100 Lebanese (the majority of whom were civilians) and 159 Israelis, (most of whom were soldiers).
Israel, which has repeatedly raided Syrian territories since the start of Syria’s civil war in 2011, accuses Iran of providing Nasrallah’s Hezbollah with arms and money in order to engage in Syria’s civil war and retain power in Lebanon.