Israel and the US are attempting to prevent a French-Lebanese arms deal that could lead to increased Israeli casualties in any future confrontation, Channel 10 cited from a Friday report by Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat.

According to the report, French Defense Minister Herve Moran sent a letter to his Lebanese counterpart Elias Murr offering to sell Lebanon 100 HOT anti-tank missiles to be armed on the Gazelle helicopters already in use by Lebanese Armed Forces.

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A French source quoted by the paper blamed a delay in the delivery of the HOT missiles due to "confusion" in the Lebanese defense establishment.

France' sale of weapons to the LAF comes at a time when Washington has grown increasingly skittish over the issue of funding and arming the Lebanese military over concerns that the LAF may become engaged in a fight with Israel, an American ally, or be co-opted by the terrorist group Hizbullah.

The US State Department has been working since early August to allay the concerns of members of Congress who have put a hold on funding to the Lebanese military following the deadly border incident that left IDF Lt.-Col. (res.) Dov Harari dead.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley has defended US military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces as something that’s “in [the US's] national interest and contributes to stability in the region.”

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