Lebanon's defense minister said on Friday that a truckload of ammunition belonging to the Hizbullah seized the previous day in an east Beirut suburb, would be used by the Lebanese army in case of future Israeli attacks. Defense Minister Elias Murr said the ammunitions would not be returned to the Hizbullah as the militants demanded after the seizure Thursday.
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"The truck and the weapons are now in the south ... and we will use them tomorrow morning if there is an Israeli violation," Murr said after talks with the new commander of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, Major-General Claudio Graziano of Italy.
Murr's comments are likely to add to tensions in the ongoing power struggle between the US-backed government in Beirut and the Hizbullah-led opposition seeking to topple it.
Hizbullah had acknowledged the ammunition belonged to the guerrilla group and demanded the government immediately release the shipment. It urged the government to abide by its own policy, proclaimed in 2005, to support the "resistance" in the south.
In a televised interview late Thursday, Murr criticized Hizbullah's statement, saying he would have liked to see the group offer the shipment to the Lebanese army, which on Wednesday engaged in a shootout with Israeli troops on the tense Israel-Lebanon-border.