Wednesday , 24 July 2024

Hezbollah Storing Iranian Weapons at Beirut Airport

gatestoneinstitute.org – Hezbollah is storing massive amounts of Iranian armaments at Rafic Hariri International Airport, Lebanon’s main civilian airport, staff say.

Hezbollah has been accused of using the Beirut airport for weapon storage in the past, but whistleblowers say it has ramped up the practice since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel.

“This is extremely serious, mysterious large boxes arriving on direct flights from Iran are a sign that things got worse,” an airport worker told The Telegraph. “When they started to come through the airport, my friends and I were scared because we knew that there was something strange going on.”

He feared that an explosion, or an attack on the airport to destroy the weapons, could cause major damage to Beirut, similar to the 2020 port blast that devastated much of downtown. That explosion was blamed on a weapons warehouse belonging to Hezbollah.

“Beirut will be cut off from the world, not to mention the number of casualties and damage,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before a disaster also happens at the airport.”

Stored weapons include Iranian-made Falaq artillery rockets, Fateh-110 short-range missiles, mobile ballistic missiles and M-600 missiles with ranges of more than 150 miles, The Telegraph reported.

AT-14 Kornet, laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), Burkan short-range ballistic missile and RDX, a widely used explosive, are also stored at the airport.

Another whistleblower said, “For years I have been watching Hezbollah operating at Beirut airport, but when they do it during a war, it turns the airport into a target. If they keep bringing in these goods I’m not allowed to check, I really believe I’ll die from the explosion or I’ll die from Israel bombing ‘the goods’. It’s not just us, it’s the ordinary people, the people coming in and out, going on holiday.

“If the airport is bombed, Lebanon is finished,” he added.

Airport staff said that Wafiq Safa, Hezbollah’s second in command and the head of its security apparatus, is constantly at the airport.

“Wafiq Safa is always showing up at customs,” one whistleblower said. “I feel like if we don’t do what they say, our families will be in danger.”

The IDF said in a statement, “Hezbollah’s strategy to hide weapons and operate from civilian neighborhoods stems from its intentions to draw the IDF to target these civilian areas in times of escalation.

“If Hezbollah were to target Israeli civilians from these sites, the IDF would have no choice but to react, potentially placing Lebanese civilians in harm’s way, causing international outrage towards the IDF,” the army added.

Reprinted with kind permission from JNS.

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