Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the location of a weapons depot in Beirut during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday evening. Hezbollah, later followed by a press release from the IDF about two other similar weapons stores. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denies the existence of these depots and showed journalists the weapons depot mentioned by Netanyahu.
“We all saw the horrific explosion at the port of Beirut last month,” he said in a pre-recorded statement to UN delegates, referring to the massive August 4 explosion that devastated the Lebanese capital.
“Hezbollah stores missiles in a secret depot in a residential area of Beirut,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Netanyahu presented information showing that the alleged depot was located in the Janah neighborhood of Beirut, saying it was a few meters from a gas station and surrounded by residential properties.
He then showed photos of the facility’s entrance, which he said was a Hezbollah missile factory.
He called on the residents of Janah to take action now and tell the Lebanese government to tear down the warehouses.
‘I say to the people of Janah, you must act now. You must protest against this. Because if this thing explodes, it will be another tragedy, ”Netanyahu said.
“Israel doesn’t want you to do any harm. But Iran is doing it. Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in great danger, and what you need to make clear is that what they have done is unacceptable, ”he said.
In response to Netanyahu’s speech, Hezbollah leader in Lebanon, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said the prime minister was lying about the missile sites.
“A while ago, the enemy’s prime minister spoke directly in a speech at the United Nations, saying things to turn, as usual, the Lebanese people against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said.
“If missiles have been installed by Hezbollah – even a single missile – I would not waste a minute informing you of this matter,” said Nasrallah, adding “we are not placing missiles, not in the port of Beirut, not at a gas station. . We know very well where to store our weapons. “
He added that Netanyahu was trying to provoke the Lebanese against Hezbollah with allegations made by missile production sites in Beirut.
In an effort to prove that the sites Netanyahu spoke of are not a weapons depot or manufacturing facility, Hezbollah invited local journalists to visit the area near Beirut International Airport later on Tuesday evening.
“This is an industrial building, a normal building, it has been in this area for decades,” Mohammad Afif, the director of Hezbollah’s news agency, told reporters on the ground.
Later on Monday evening, the Israeli military, the IDF, released information about two other alleged weapons stores.
One is an underground PGM production facility built beneath four seven-storey apartment buildings housing 70 families in the Laylaki district east of Beirut International Airport. According to the IDF, the site has two entrances, East and North. Both a medical center and a church are located approximately 130 meters from the site.
The second underground production site for PGM is located in the Chouaifet district of Beirut, according to the IDF, under a complex of five apartment buildings housing some 50 families. About 90 meters north of the site is a mosque.
The IDF adds in its statement that it has regularly informed the UN and diplomats about these weapons depots, stating that “Hezbollah is endangering the lives of ordinary Lebanese civilians”.
On August 4, about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical, apparently inadequately stored in an old warehouse near the port of Beirut for years, exploded. At least 200 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
Some blamed Hezbollah for the volatile materials remaining in the port despite repeated warnings from officials, but the Shia group has denied any responsibility.
Netanyahu also spoke about Iran and the nuclear deal, reiterating his opposition to it “because the deal’s restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program were only temporary and were in no way related to Iran’s change in behavior.”
“Now Iran has violated even those temporary restrictions,” Netanyahu said, and because of these violations he claimed that Tehran “will have enough enriched uranium for two atomic bombs in a few months, and Iran has been working on the new generation of centrifuges – it has been called the IR-9 – which will multiply Iran’s enrichment capacity 50-fold. ”
Tuesday’s speech was not the first time Netanyahu has used the UN General Assembly stage to reveal secret information about secret warehouses and weapon depots to date. In 2018, the last time he addressed the world organization in person – the Prime Minister revealed the existence of three facilities to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision guided missiles near Beirut International Airport.
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