On Tuesday, in an address to the UN General Assembly by video link, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the location of a secret Hezbollah arms depot in a civilian area near Beirut’s International Airport.
Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed to a map of the Janah neighbourhood in Beirut, which depicted a weapons manufacturing site next to a gas company near civilian housing. Referring to the explosion in August at the Lebanese capital’s port which killed 200 people and injured thousands, he warned: “Here is where the next explosion could take place”.
Mr Netanyahu displayed photographs of the Iranian proxy’s alleged missile factory, adding: “I say to the people of Janah, you’ve got to act now. You’ve got to protest this. Because if this thing explodes, it’s another tragedy… I say to the people of Lebanon, Israel means you no harm. But Iran does”.
He said that the international community “must insist that Hezbollah stop using Lebanon and Lebanese civilians as human shields”, describing Iran as “the greatest enemy of peace in the Middle East”.
After violating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Nuclear Deal, “Iran will have enough enriched uranium in a few months for two nuclear bombs. And Iran has been working on a new generation of centrifuges, it’s called the IR9, which will multiply Iran’s enrichment capability fifty-fold”, Mr Netanyahu added.
Following the Israeli Prime Minister’s speech, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) published further information on two sites in Beirut allegedly used by Hezbollah to manufacture precision-guided missiles.
One of the facilities is built beneath an apartment block where 70 families live, the IDF reports, located near a church and a medical centre. An additional underground facility is located under a building where 50 families live and is approximately 90 metres away from a mosque.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah rejected the claims and invited the media to visit the facility referred to by Mr Netanyahu. Hezbollah media relations reportedly arranged a tour for journalists “to learn about the reality of the situation there and to uncover the false claims of the enemy Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu”.
This month, Middle East Minister Rt. Hon. James Cleverly MP expressed the UK Government’s concerns about Hezbollah’s increasing weapons arsenal in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions, and condemned “destabilising” Iranian activity in Yemen and the region.
Hezbollah is believed to have amassed an arsenal of up to 150,000 rockets in Lebanon – over ten times more than it had in the 2006 war. The rockets include hundreds of long-range Iranian-made missiles capable of striking Israeli cities from north to south, as well as systems with improved accuracy.
The UK Government proscribed the Hezbollah terror group in full in February last year, citing its “destabilising activities in the region” and commitment to “armed resistance to the State of Israel”.