Lebanon: Druze leader calls to expel Iranian ambassador

Published May 3rd, 2008 - 06:30 GMT

A prominent figure in Lebanon's ruling coalition called on Saturday for a ban on flights from Iran to Beirut airport, saying Hizbullah could be flying in arms from Iran. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt called for the expulsion of the Iranian ambassador, Mohammad Reda Shibani, and "a ban on the arrival of Iranian planes to Beirut because, maybe, they carry money and weapons" for Hizbullah.


According to AFP, Jumblatt also demanded, at a news conference, the "sacking of airport security chief" General Wafik Shqeir, over alleged links to the Shiite opposition group.


The official ANI news agency quoted a Hizbullah statement as calling Jumblatt's comments "mad," and accusing him of "stoking the fires of discord" in the politically divided country.


The Druze leader showed reporters what he said was an exchange of mail between Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr and army intelligence services, about the discovery of surveillance cameras near the airport, which is close to Beirut's southern suburbs where Hizbullah has its headquarters. Jumblatt conveyed that Hizbullah put the cameras there "to monitor the arrival of Lebanese or foreign leaders, to kidnap or assassinate (people) on the airport road."


He charged that Shqeir allowed the cameras to be placed in the area because of alleged links with Hizbullah.


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