Army chief: No Scud missiles in Lebanon

Kahwaji: “Talk about the issue is political.”

Scud Missile311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Scud Missile311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There are no Scud missiles in Lebanon, Lebanese army commander Gen. Jean Kahwaji said on Saturday, denying allegations voiced last week that Syria had transferred ballistic missiles to Hizbullah.
In comments published in Lebanon’s Al-Nahar daily 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 brought across the border undetected.
“The process of transporting them is not a game, it’s a very big operation... The rockets are 30 meters 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, Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper reported that Syria had transferred Scud ballistic missiles to Hizbullah. Israel 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 theallegations, comparing them to the American charges that Iraq hadweapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 US-led invasion.
Several days ago, however, the chairwoman of the US Senate’sIntelligence Committee warned that there was a “high likelihood” thatHizbullah had acquired Scuds.
“The rockets and missiles in Lebanon are substantially increased andbetter technologically than they were, and this is a real point ofdanger for Israel,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California told AgenceFrance-Press.