Thu, Jul 13, 2006
Says Airport Is Entry Point For Weapons
Saying the airport is a major entry point for weapons and
personnel supporting the radical Hezbollah movement, on Thursday
Israeli air force jets bombed three runways at Beirut's Rafik
Hariri International Airport, bringing to a halt all operations --
civil, and otherwise -- at the middle eastern airport.
Israel struck the
airport a second time Thursday night, with helicopter gunships
firing missiles to take out fuel tanks and other structures at
Lebanon's only international air facility.
Israel says the attacks -- part of a larger military strike
against Lebanon, in response to Hezbollah's taking of two Israeli
soldiers as hostages Wednesday -- are intended to stop the flow of
arms into Lebanon from Iran. MSNBC reports many believe those arms
are coming in on a daily 747 cargo plane from Iran... and that
Beirut International is the only airport in the region that can
handle the large aircraft.
Incoming flights to the airport -- including a plane carrying
Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh back from a trip to
Armenia -- were diverted to airports in Cyprus, Jordan and Dubai.
Several of the planes that were at the airport when it was bombed
were able to leave the airport -- without passengers -- via the
airport's taxiways, to seek refuge at other locations.
In addition to preventing arms from coming into Lebanon -- which
has only recently begun to experience a resurgence in its economy,
after years and years of turmoil -- Israel said the air strikes are
also meant to prevent Hezbollah from flying the captured soldiers
out of the country.
Smaller fields in Northern Lebanon have also been bombed, as
have military bases in the region.
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