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Lebanon to sue UK newspaper for ‘damaging’ reputation of Beirut airport

June 24, 2024 at 11:52 am

A passenger plane takes off from the Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Lebanon on June 23, 2024. [Houssam Shbaro – Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon vowed on Sunday to sue UK newspaper the Telegraph over a report accusing Hezbollah of storing weapons at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, Anadolu news agency has reported. The Telegraph cited alleged airport whistle-blowers as saying that the movement was storing huge quantities of Iranian weapons, missiles and explosives at the airport.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamieh told a press conference that the article “seeks to tarnish the airport’s reputation.” He criticised the right-wing British newspaper for failing to use reliable sources in its article, such as Britain’s own Department of Transport. “Its officials visited Beirut Airport on 22 January this year and inspected all of its departments,” the minister explained as he invited all media outlets and ambassadors or their representatives to visit the airport’s facilities today.

The Lebanese Air Transport Union called the British media report “lies” yesterday, and accused the newspaper of endangering airport workers and passengers. “The Telegraph has informed us of the presence of weapons and missiles at Beirut airport without providing any evidence or proof,” said the union.

The media report was published at a time when tensions were rising along Lebanon’s border with Israel, with cross-border attacks between Hezbollah and Israeli forces as Tel Aviv presses ahead with its deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip, which has killed nearly 37,600 people since 7 October last year.

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