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Israel says Iran using commercial flights to arm Hezbollah

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) yesterday accused Iran of using civilian aircraft to provide weapons for Hezbollah.

In a letter to the 15 members of the UN Security Council, with reference to Israeli intelligence, Ambassador Danny Danon claimed that Iran is using airlines such as ‘Mahan Air,’ to supply Hezbollah with the capacity to enhance its missile arsenal. The arms and related materials are “packed in suitcases by the Quds Force in Iran and transferred directly to Hezbollah operatives”.

Danon said: “It is clear that Iran is still the primary supplier of arms and related material to Hezbollah, in blatant violation of numerous Security Council resolutions.”

He called on the UN Security Council to condemn these violations. In particular, Danon cited Security Council Resolution 2231, which placed restrictions on Iran following last year’s nuclear deal, and Security Council Resolution 1701, which was the basis of a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah bringing an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Danon has previously raised concerns about Hezbollah, telling the UN Security Council in July that the group possesses around 17 times the number of missiles it did in 2006, amounting to about 120,000 missiles, compared to about 7,000 ten years ago. At the time, Danon said that Hezbollah possesses “more missiles below ground in Lebanon than the European NATO allies have above ground”.

Hezbollah is also closely allied with Syria’s President Assad and fights alongside his soldiers in Syria’s ongoing conflict. Israel has on occasion carried out air strikes against convoys attempting to transfer advanced weaponry from Syria to Lebanon.

Hezbollah has also planned and launched attacks on Israeli citizens across the world, including a bus bomb in the Bulgarian resort of Burgas which killed five Israeli tourists in 2012.