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Hezbollah refutes Netanyahu's missile depot claims, invites media to site

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel at his office in Jerusalem, on 13 September 2020. [YOAV DUDKEVITCH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel at his office in Jerusalem on 13 September 2020 [YOAV DUDKEVITCH/POOL/AF/Getty Images]

Following claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday, as part of his UN General Assembly address, that Hezbollah owns a precision missile depot next to a gas company in Beirut, which could lead to a massive explosion, the Lebanese resistance movement's Media Relations Unit organised a live tour for media outlets to visit the alleged site.

Netanyahu released images of homes and civilian facilities which he claimed were the secret arms depots in his speech shared by video link.  "Here is where the next explosion could take place," the prime minister said, pointing to a map of the Janah neighbourhood in Beirut.

"It's right here. This is the gas company, and this is the missile explosive depot," Netanyahu explained. The prime minister also called on the people of Janah to "act now" and tell Hezbollah to "tear these depots down".

However, not long after Netanyahu's speech, Hezbollah's Secretary-General, Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, was making a prescheduled address on the issue of France's initiative for Lebanon's political future. Nasrallah welcomed France's help but warned President Emmanuel Macron against "patronising behaviour".

READ: Iran rejects foreign interference in Lebanon's internal affairs

The Hezbollah chief then digressed from the main subject of his speech to respond to Netanyahu's claims by stating "If there [were] missiles there placed by Hezbollah — even a single rocket — I would not waste a minute before informing you of this matter."

"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 added.

Insisting that the Israeli prime minister was lying, Nasrallah then announced that the alleged sites will be open to the media to see for themselves.

Al-Manar reported that a large number of cameramen and reporters gathered at the site around two hours after Netanyahu's speech.

The head of Hezbollah Media Relations Unit, Hajj Mohammad Afif, said: "This tour exposes Netanyahu's fake claims. This facility doesn't belong to stocking weapons of resistance, it is rather an industrial facility that belongs to a Lebanese man. He has employees and it doesn't contain any missiles."

The Israeli leader has drawn ridicule in a previous General Assembly address back in 2012 when he presented an image of a cartoon bomb to warn world leaders about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

READ: France's Macron condemns Lebanon leaders for 'betraying' reforms roadmap

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