Nasrallah denies Netanyahu's claims on 'secret' Hezbollah weapons depot

Nasrallah denies Netanyahu's claims on 'secret' Hezbollah weapons depot
Lebanon's Hezbollah has denied claims by Israel's prime minister that accused the movement of manufacturing weapons next to a "gas station" in Beirut.
2 min read
29 September, 2020
Nasrallah responded to Netanyahu's comments in a speech on Tuesday [File Photo: Getty]
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday rejected claims by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Lebanon's Shia movement of manufacturing weapons next to a "gas station" in Beirut.

Nasrallah said Hezbollah's arms are not being held in civilian areas and invited world media to visit the facility mentioned by the Israeli leader "so that the world can watch the Netanyahu lie on the air."

"We know very well where we should put our missiles," Nasrallah said.

Israel has repeatedly accused the Shia movement Hezbollah, backed by Israel's arch-foe Iran, of building missiles to attack the Jewish state.

In a video speech from Jerusalem broadcast to the UN General Assembly in New York, Netanyahu presented a map with coordinates he said showed a "secret weapons depot" in Beirut's southern suburb of Jnah, a stronghold of the movement.

Beirut is still reeling from an August 4 explosion when a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate exploded in the port, killing more than 190 people, wounding thousands and ravaging large parts of the city.

The Israeli illustrations showed what Netanyahu said was a weapons depot sandwiched between two compounds.

The alleged precision missile factory is "a few metres away from a gas station" on one side, and 50 metres (164 feet) from a "gas company" on the other.

"If this thing explodes, it’s another tragedy," Netanyahu said.

The site is also close to Beirut's international airport.

The Israeli images appeared to show cooking gas depots, but there are also petrol stations nearby according to Google Maps.

Netanyahu showed details of two other alleged missile production sites, in Beirut's Laylaki and Choueifat districts, which he said were located under apartment buildings.

"I say to the people of Lebanon, Israel means you no harm," he added.

"But Iran does. Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger."

Read also: After Beirut blast, mental health is Lebanon’s next crisis

Israel and Lebanon are technically in a state of war, and their common border, patrolled on the Lebanese side by a UN force, remains the scene of sporadic attacks.

Hezbollah and Israel fought a devastating month-long war in 2006.

Israel has also carried out dozens of air strikes on Hezbollah targets in neighbouring Syria where the group is fighting alongside the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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