Peres: Hizbullah has 80,000 weapons

President quoted as saying terrorist group's arsenal tripled since 2006; Lebanese FM dismisses claim.

peres 248.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
peres 248.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hizbullah has stockpiled 80,000 weapons which can be used against Israel, President Shimon Peres told Kuwaiti paper al-Rai, some three times more than it had prior to the Second Lebanon War. "Hizbullah is working for its own interests and will always find a pretext to continue its policy against Israel, even if the IDF withdraws from Sheba Farms and the Lebanese Ghajar village," the president said in an interview published on Monday. Al-Rai further quoted Peres as warning Lebanon against allowing Hizbullah to gain more political power, saying the country had "become the Iran of the region" rather than the "Switzerland of the Orient." The president went on to mention the death of Hizbullah arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, reiterating previous Israeli denials of involvement. "He was the head of special operations, and no one knows who killed him… There is no evidence that a certain side carried out the assassination." Responding to Peres's comments, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh told The Daily Star, "I don't know how he counted these rockets. Let [Israel] give us a list showing who the source is and how they identify these rockets. [Peres] imagines too much." Salloukh echoed previous comments that Lebanon "would be the last Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Tel Aviv, according to The Daily Star, stating, "There will be neither direct nor indirect negotiations with Israel." Salloukh added a dig at the president, calling him "an aging political leader," according to the Beirut-based paper.