Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “lying” to the United Nations when he exposed what he said was a secret arms depot belonging to the Iranian-backed terror group in a residential area near Beirut’s International Airport.
The Israel Defense Forces later released coordinates of the depots.
“As usual, Netanyahu is lying. I invite the media to visit the facility he spoke about so the world can see it’s all lies,” Nasrallah said in an address aired by Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV.
“If there [were] missiles there placed by Hezbollah — even a single rocket — I would not waste a minute before informing you of this matter,” Nasrallah said, adding “we don’t put rockets, not in the Beirut port, not by a gas station. We know very well where to put our weapons.”
“This is incitement of the Lebanese people against Hezbollah, as usual,” Nasrallah said.
Hezbollah on Tuesday night escorted local journalists on a visit to the area.
“This is an industrial building, a normal building, that’s been in this area for decades,” Mohammad Afif, the director of Hezbollah’s press office, said to reporters.
“We are proving our accountability. This tour isn’t happening a day or two or three days later, which would allow Israel to falsely allege that Hezbollah moved the rockets and is trying to pull the wool over the media’s eyes,” Afif said.
“You can see the missile and the missile factory behind you,” he said sarcastically. “We want to confirm again that all charges by the enemy are mere lies.”
Nasrallah in his address warned Israel against further clashes in the near future.
“For the first time, the soldiers of the Zionist occupation army do not dare move on the border between Lebanon and Israel. Wait and see what happens in the coming days and weeks on the border with Israel.”
Netanyahu on Tuesday evening told the U.N. General Assembly the secret arms depot was in danger of exploding, weeks after a catastrophic blast at the Beirut Port a warehouse in which close to 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded, wiping out large swaths of the city, killing at least 200 people and leaving a quarter of a million people homeless.
“I say to the people of Lebanon, Israel means you no harm. But Iran does. Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger. And what you should make clear is that what they have done is unacceptable. You should tell them, tear these depots down.”
“The international community must insist that Hezbollah stop using Lebanon and Lebanese civilians as human shields,” he said.
He pointed to a blast last week in Ain Qana in southern Lebanon, in which a Hezbollah weapons depot exploded. Hezbollah closed off the area from journalists and said the explosion was the result of a “technical error.”
Speaking to the UAE-based al-Hadath TV at the time, journalist Ali al-Amin called Hezbollah’s weapons hording an issue of “life and death.”
“Everyone knows where the weapons are. The issue of these weapons in villages and cities is now an issue of life and death. It is neither justifiable nor acceptable for Hezbollah to consider to store its weapons in such places,” al-Amin said.