'No Scud missiles in Lebanon'

Lebanese army chief meets with Egyptian FM, denies allegations.

April 24, 2010 15:10
1 minute read.
Scud Missiles

scud missiles. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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There are no Scud missiles in Lebanon, Lebanese army commander Jean Kahwaji said on Saturday, denying allegations voiced last week that Syria had transferred ballistic missiles to Hizbullah.

In comments published by Al-Nahar and communicated by Reuters, Kahwaji, who met earlier in the day with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said Scuds were far less mobile than Katyusha rockets and much less likely to be passed across the border undetected.

"The process of transporting them is not a game, it's a very big operation … The rockets are 30 metres long, are carried on large vehicles, and need 40 minutes to prepare for launch, Kahwaji was quoted as saying. “I'm convinced there are no scuds in Lebanon and talk about the issue is political.”

Gheit, who met with Kahwaji in Beirut, reportedly said later that "Whoever knows about these rockets, knows that these [allegations] are all laughable lies."

Two weeks ago, the Kuwaiti Al-Rai newspaper reported that Syria had transferred Scud ballistic missiles to Hizbullah.  Israeli subsequently issued a stern warning that it would consider attacking both Syrian and Lebanese targets in response to a Scud attack on its territory.

Lebanon's Western-backed Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri denied the allegations, comparing them to the false American charges that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 US-led invasion.

Several days ago, however, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee warned that there was a “high likelihood” that Hizbullah had acquired Scuds. "The rockets and missiles in Lebanon are substantially increased and better technologically than they were and this is a real point of danger for Israel,” Dianne Feinstein told the French news agency.

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