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Israel Mulls Hitting Beirut Airport
Israel Mulls Hitting Beirut Airport
How Iran gets weapons to Hezbollah.
By Vijeta Uniyal
The IDF “accused Hezbollah of hiding underground precision missile production facilities close to Beirut’s international airport.”
Israel might strike Beirut’s international airport as Iran ramps up weapons deliveries to Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group using civilian flights, the Arabic language media warned.
The warning comes amid Israeli efforts to crippled Iran’s ability to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah via Syrian commercials airports. The Israel Air Forces (IAF) “has reportedly struck targets across Syria. Most recently airports, including Aleppo International Airport and Damascus International Airport have been reported by Syrian media to have been targeted by air strikes,” the Jerusalem Post reported October 22.
Hezbollah, Lebanon-based proxy Iranian terrorist militia, moved fighters into neighboring Syria in 2011 in an bid to bolster country’s Iran-backed dictator Bashar al-Assad during the civil war.
With Israel now pounding Hezbollah’s arms depots and supply routes in Syria, Iran is reportedly stepping up weapons supplies through Lebanon.
The Times of Israel reported late Saturday:
Israel has warned Lebanon that it could bomb Beirut’s international airport, according to one Saturday report, after an earlier report claimed Iran had recently transferred weaponry to the Hezbollah terror group via civilian flights. (…)
According to [the UK-based Arabic newspaper] Asharq Al-Awsat, Israel has warned the Lebanese government that it could strike the airport if it is indeed used for smuggling attempts. (…)
Citing unnamed sources, al-Arabiya said Thursday that Tehran had used the airline Meraj, which recently started flying a direct route between the two nations’ capitals, to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. (…)
Israel has in the past accused Iran of using direct flights to Lebanon to transfer equipment and arms to Hezbollah, but officials note the relative difficulty in doing so as the terror group does not control the airport. Therefore Iran prefers to first fly such weaponry into Syria and truck it over the border.
The Israeli military has also accused Hezbollah of hiding underground precision missile production facilities close to Beirut’s international airport.
Meraj Airlines: Lifeline of Iran’s Global Terror Network
The weapons shipments are reportedly being handled by Meraj Airlines, a front for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) terrorist group.
“The IRGC-affiliated Meraj Airlines has begun flights to Beirut in recent days, raising concerns that Iran could use the flights to transfer weapons directly to Hezbollah in Lebanon instead of using Damascus,” the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.
Highlighting the airline’s links to the IRGC terrorist organization, the Jerusalem Post noted that “Meraj Air was sanctioned by the US in 2014 for ferrying ‘illicit cargo, including weapons, from Tehran to the Syrian regime since at least 2013.’ The airline was targeted by US sanctions again in 2018 when two people affiliated with it and a separate airline called Dena Airways which acts on behalf of Meraj Air were designated.”
Hezbollah’s Use of Lebanese Civilians as Human Shields
Iran’s use of civilian flights to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah should not come as a surprise. The terrorist group has a history of hoarding explosives and weaponry in crowed Lebanese neighborhoods.
In August 4, 2020, 200 civilians were killed and thousands left injured when a massive blast rocked Beirut city. Western intelligence linked Hezbollah to the explosion, which reportedly received large quantities of ammonium nitrate explosives from Iran and stored it near the city’s port.
Hezbollah terror group uses Lebanese civilians as human shields as it wages war against the neighboring state of Israel. According to the Israel Defense Forces website, “Hezbollah militants and arms are systematically embedded in civilian areas and urban population centers. Hundreds of arms depots, thousands of militants, and tens of thousands of rockets are distributed throughout Southern Lebanon alone.”
Hezbollah’s terrorist operations are sustained by massive sums of money funneled from Iran. The terrorist militia, is reportedly the world’s most heavily armed terror outfit and receives around $700 million annually from Iran, according to a 2020 U.S. State Department estimate.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons