Lebanon Summons Envoys to Refute Netanyahu's Missile Claims

(Bloomberg) -- Lebanon rejected Israeli claims that Hezbollah maintained missile facilities near Beirut’s airport, warning of regional repercussions if its forces decided to act.

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil gathered ambassadors from Arab nations and outside the region to refute the charge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying his “lies carry the seeds of a threat.”

Addressing the United Nations in New York last week, Netanyahu said Iran-backed Hezbollah was working on precision weapons at three locations close to the city’s airport. Holding up a map showing the location of the purported sites, he said Israel wouldn’t let Hezbollah “get away with it.”

Israel has carried out numerous strikes in Syria against what it said were arms convoys bound for Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally. Hezbollah last battled Israel in the summer of 2006.

Israeli officials fear Iran could use Syria as a forward base to threaten it, similar to the challenge from Lebanon with Hezbollah.

Late last month, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said the group had acquired precision missiles despite Israeli attempts to stop it. Such weaponry would change the reality in the event of a future war with Israel, he said.

Bassil called on the international community to “prevent any aggression and to counteract any intention of Israel to strike Lebanon.” He warned that an attack “will have repercussions that won’t be limited to Lebanon but will affect the stability of the region in general.”

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