Lebanon denies reports of weapons smuggling at Beirut airport  

Lebanon’s Transports Minister Ali Hamie has denied the information appeared on June 23, 2024, on the British newspaper The Telegraph which pointed to Beirut Rafic Hariri international airport (BEY) being a weapons transit and storage point by the Hezbollah militia and its Iranian backers. 

Quoting anonymous whistleblowers within the airport’s staff, The Telegraph reported that, allegedly, all sorts of weaponry, including ballistic missiles, artillery rockets, laser-guided anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and explosive substances, arrive regularly at the airport in flights from Iran. 

According to these same sources, the weapons are stored within the airport facilities with the complicity or connivence of airport staff. These shipments have reportedly increased in frequency and quantity since the start of the war in Gaza. 

The Lebanese government vehemently denied these accusations, labelling the claims as “ridiculous” and inviting foreign diplomats and media to the airport on June 24, 2024, at 10.30 local time for an inspection tour of the airport. The transports minister also stated that it had been in communication with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to refute these claims. 

This controversy erupted amidst heightened tension and repeated exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border.  

Rumors of an imminent intervention by Israel ground forces in South Lebanon in order to target rocket launchers that fire on Israel prompted several countries to issue travel advisory warnings for Lebanon.  

Beirut’s Rafic Hariri international airport (BEY) is Lebanon’s only international air gateway. In 2023 it handled 7.1 million passengers.

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