Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday accused Iran-backed Hezbollah of maintaining a “secret arms depot” in a residential neighborhood of Beirut, warning it could cause another tragic explosion in the Lebanese capital.
In an address to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu pointed to maps purportedly showing the missile depot’s location next to a gas company and residential housing. He also showed what he said was a picture of the entrance to the depot.
“Here’s where the next explosion will take place, right here,” he said.
“You’ve got to act now, you’ve got to protest this, because if this thing explodes, it’s another tragedy,” he said, addressing the Lebanese people. “You should tell them, ‘Tear these depots down.’”
Last month, a warehouse filled with nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut’s port, killing nearly 200 people, wounding thousands and causing widespread destruction in the capital.
The ammonium nitrate had been stored there for several years after being removed from an impounded cargo ship. No one has yet been held accountable for the blast, which appears to have been triggered by an accidental fire.
Israel has long accused Hezbollah of storing weapons and maintaining military posts in civilian areas, especially in the southern suburbs of Beirut and southern Lebanon, both strongholds of support for the Iran-backed militant group.
The Israeli military later released maps and videos showing the site that Netanyahu had referenced as well as two other alleged missile depots it said were under residential apartment blocks. It described all three as precision-guided missile manufacturing sites.
The military provided precise locations of the alleged weapons sites, but gave no other evidence and did not say how advanced the manufacturing program is.
Netanyahu said another depot had exploded just a few days ago in the southern Lebanese village of Ain Qana, near the port city of Sidon. It is not clear what caused that explosion, which sent smoke billowing into the sky but did not cause any casualties.