Beirut, Sep 29 (EFE).- Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah party on Tuesday organized a visit for reporters to a metalworking warehouse located in southern Beirut after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that the installation belonged to the group and is being used to store missiles and weapons.
The tour was organized in response to Netanyahu’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly, where he showed diagrams and photographs of the Janah neighborhood in southern Beirut, where he said there is a Hezbollah arsenal.
The general secretary of the Shiite group, Hassan Nasrallah, on Tuesday made a televised speech in which he invited the press to see for themselves whether or not there were any weapons in the warehouse complex.
“My media office will call all reporters so that they can come to the site where there is allegedly a weapons warehouse owned by Hezbollah so that they may see for themselves that no such things are there,” said Nasrallah during his speech.
Upon receiving the invitation, journalists gathered an hour later in front of the gate to the warehouse area that Netanyahu had declared could be the site of another huge explosion like the one that occurred on Aug. 4 at the Beirut port, killing almost 200 people, injuring some 6,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless when their residences were destroyed.
Instead of missiles and weaponry, the warehouse was filled with piles of metal sheets and bars, cutting machines, circular saws and a large number of industrial gas tanks arrayed side by side.
“You can visit any day at any time and verify for yourselves that it’s just a workplace to cut metal,” said the owner of the site, Mohammed Rammal, a young proprietor who added that his private business has been operating for five years and has no links whatsoever with Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah press secretary Mohammed Afif – who was tasked with leading the throng of reporters on the tour, with the media group videotaping every corner of the warehouse with their professional cameras and mobile phones – refuted the Israeli leader’s remarks as the group moved through the complex.
But when the visit was over, a group of local residents in the mainly Shiite neighborhood entered the site chanting pro-Hezbollah slogans.
“We make missiles in our homes, not in warehouses,” said one of the residents in a sarcastic tone.