Lebanese minister denies Hezbollah weapons at Beirut airport

Lebanese minister denies Hezbollah weapons at Beirut airport
A Lebanese official accused UK outlet The Telegraph’s article about Hezbollah storing weapons at Beirut’s international airport of having lacked "credibility".
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Lebanese Minister of Public Work and Transport Ali Hamieh speaks during the press conference in Beirut, Lebanon on June 23, 2024. [Getty]

Lebanon's transport minister denied on Sunday that Hezbollah was storing weapons at Beirut airport, as fears grow of all-out war between the group and Israel.

Ali Hamieh called a press conference to deny the allegations of "absurd articles" in the media, and attacked the British daily The Telegraph.

The newspaper said the Shiite group is storing missiles and rockets at the airport, where "whistleblowers" had reported the arrival of "unusually big boxes".

Backed by Iran, Hezbollah has been exchanging near-daily fire with Israel that has been at war in Gaza since October 7- when Hamas attacked southern Israel.

"I am holding this press conference to clarify that everything that has been written in The Telegraph is false and to say that there are no weapons entering or leaving Beirut airport," Hamieh told journalists.

He spoke from Beirut International Airport, located in an area south of the capital where Hezbollah is influential.

Hamieh invited ambassadors and journalists to inspect the airport on Monday morning in a visit "open to all"

The Lebanese air transport union condemned in a statement "simply erroneous statements and lies aimed at endangering Beirut airport and its employees, all civilians, and those who frequent it."

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Israel has for years accused Hezbollah of keeping precision rockets and missiles in different installations throughout Lebanon, including on a site near Beirut airport.

Hezbollah denies this.

More than eight months of exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli forces have left 480 people dead in Lebanon, mostly fighters, but also 93 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Israeli authorities say at least 15 soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed in the country's north.

Cross-border exchanges and tension have escalated over the past two weeks after an Israeli air strike killed a senior Hezbollah commander.