JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel’s military insists that Hezbollah is building missiles on three sites in Lebanon after the Iranian-backed terror group denied the charge, claiming they’re industrial sites.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the world last month that Hezbollah was again manufacturing precision-guided missiles to use against Israel. He showed his proof to the UN General assembly.
"This is the Beirut neighborhood of Janah," Netanyahu said while pointing to a map apparently depicting the location of a Hezbollah weapons stache. "It’s right next to the international airport. And here, Hezbollah is keeping a secret arms depot."
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied the accusation, going as far to take reporters on a nighttime tour of the Janah location.
"We came today to confirm that this facility is a normal industrial facility in this area present here maybe for tens of years," said Hezbollah Spokesperson Mohammed Afif. "It is a facility that is working and you will take a look through it. In this case and in front of all media organizations we will show their lies first because we are broadcasting live to all media local, Arab and foreign media outlets."
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The IDF later echoed Netanyahu's claims that Hezbollah is hiding weapons in Beirut.
"Netanyahu wasn’t so precise about what’s in the site. It was a missile depot, arms depot, explosive depot...but the IDF spokesperson [was] quite precise that’s it’s a manufacturing site. So you don’t necessarily have to see missiles there," IDF Reserve Brig-Gen Assaf Orion, with the Institute for National Security Studies and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told CBN News.
Orion says the important thing is to look beyond the surface.
"On the operational side you saw no missiles, but Israel was pretty quick on its feet, to show the exact machines, their use and even identifying Hezbollah members by name saying this is the guy, this is his job," he added.
The IDF also tracked a transport truck leaving one of the exposed sites and arriving at another one.
"All of this comes in a period when Hezbollah is facing serious sensitivity in the public after the Beirut Port explosion, which was devastating. And on September 22, we saw another explosion in Qana, Southern Lebanon, which they tried to mask and divert," said Orion.
Backed by Iran, Hezbollah operates as both a terror organization and a political party. That combination forces it to hide operations while not alienating the public.
"The system is clear. Iran is the enabler. It gives forward capabilities and it runs an indirect warfare, a long twilight war against its rival by proxy," Orion said.
Within hours of the UN speech, Nasrallah moved to appease the Lebanese public while also putting together the press tour.
"I think Hezbollah was, I think, shocked to see how exposed it is and the promptness of reaction shows that it’s under serious stress to vindicate itself in front of the Lebanese public," said Orion.
The high profile press tour paid more dividends than expected.
"It allowed or rendered Israel inside reconnaissance trying to vindicate itself that there are no missiles but lots of other stuff to see and thank you for letting us in," he added.
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