Swathes of Beirut residents received a puzzling message on their phones on Wednesday warning them about a Hezbollah weapons-storage site allegedly located just a stone’s throw away from them, the UK-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported.
“Important message, near your home, a Hezbollah site has been established, proceed with caution,” the message read, accompanied by a satellite shot with a site mapped right in downtown Beirut, in close proximity to the St. George’s Hospital, the Imam Ali Mosque, a school, a university complex and the Spanish Embassy.
The site announced in the message send-out is virtually another one to join three other locations revealed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week at the United Nations General Assembly.
Last Thursday, Netanyahu slammed Hezbollah for “deliberately” exploiting “the innocent people of Beirut as human shields.” The sites mentioned by the Israeli prime minister included one on the premises of a soccer stadium, one on a territory adjacent to the airport and another one next to the Ouzai harbor.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Israel possesses “a lot of information at hand, and we are still choosing the right time to reveal [intelligence on additional] facilities both in Iran as well as in Beirut.”
Lebanon denied Israeli claims about the Hezbollah missile factories and even took foreign diplomats, from Russia, Iran, several Asian and African countries, on a tour of the supposed sites to prove “there are no missiles here,” The Washington Post quoted Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.
Netanyahu lashed out at Lebanon accusing the authorities of “blatantly lying” by taking the 73 diplomats to sites after, he said, Hezbollah had preemptively removed all the evidence of missiles.
“Hezbollah is brazenly lying to the international community by means of the fraudulent propaganda tour of the Lebanese foreign minister, who took ambassadors to the soccer field but refrained from taking them to the nearby underground precision-missile production facility,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.