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Lebanon calls Israel’s bluff by inviting foreign diplomats to non-existent weapons site

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut, Lebanon [Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu Agency]
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut, Lebanon [Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon took the unusual step of calling Benjamin Netanyahu’s bluff by taking foreign diplomats around locations which the Israeli prime minister claimed were being used to store secret Hezbollah weapons.

The diplomatic offensive, which possibly caught the Israeli’s off guard, was undertaken by Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, following allegations by Netanyahu that Hezbollah built weapons storage facilities in the heart of the civilian population in Beirut, near the city’s international airport.

During last week’s address at the UN, Netanyahu stood in front of the General Assembly meeting and showed satellite images of alleged guided missile sites in Beirut. “Here’s a picture that’s worth a thousand missiles,” said Netanyahu as he held up a satellite image with three points marked with red dots. “Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows where you’re doing it, and Israel will not let you get away with it,” he warned.

Reacting to the allegations, Bassil said that Israel was seeking to “justify another aggression” with false allegations of missile sites belonging to Iran-backed Hezbollah. Bassil also took the unprecedented step of calling Netanyahu’s bluff yesterday by offering foreign ambassadors and journalists a tour of each of the sites in question.

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“We are used to Israel fabricating information (…) but this time Israel lied in the presence of delegates from all over the world, which is why we took this extraordinary measure today,” Bassil told the 73 envoys and reporters gathered.

“As you can all see, there is no secret Hezbollah weapons warehouse here.”

It’s reported that there were bemused football players during the tour who looked on as Lebanon’s entire diplomat and press core descended on the stadium and began searching every corner of the pitch, seemingly looking for evidence that could prove Netanyahu’s accusations right.

“I live just over there and come to practise every day. I think we would have seen a bunch of missiles being transported,” one of the players said.

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