A truck transporting weapons to Hizbullah was accidentally confiscated by customs agents who thought it was smuggling fuel from Syria. Hizbullah has now issued a statement asking for "their weapons" to be returned.
"The Lebanese authorities should return the truck and the munitions to the resistance," it said. Hizbullah justified its demand for the truck to be returned by what it called a "ministerial declaration" by Premier Fouad Saniora recognizing the right to resist Israeli occupation in Lebanon. Defense Minister Elias Murr earlier announced that the army and the customs intercepted the truck in Hazmieh on its way from the eastern Bekaa Valley.
Stay tuned for more ridiculous news from Lebanon.
Update. Defense Minister Elias Murr rejected Hizbullah's demand to return the seized weapons. "I wish Hizbullah had given these weapons as a gift to the Lebanese army which successfully warded off the Israeli attack on Lebanese territory yesterday," he told LBC.
Murr said the weapons will return to the Lebanese army, which is deployed in southern Lebanon and in charge of defending the border "against the Israeli enemy".
According to Murr, the seized weapons included "Soviet-made" rockets similar to those used by Hizbullah against Israel during the war this past summer.
Surprisingly, Murr said the truck did not originate in Syria, but in Lebanon. He said Lebanese customs had been tracking it for a week, until it was intercepted in Beirut's eastern suburb. Murr did not explain why Lebanese customs were inolved in the surveillance if, as he said, the truck did not come from the border. He did declare, however, that no weapons have crossed into Lebanon from Syria since the army took charge of the border.
Update 2. An-Nahar says the truck was headed for the southern suburb of Beirut. The driver, Mohammad Ali Zein, a member of Hizbullah, received the shipment in Chtaura in the Bekaa valley. The weapons included Hawn rockets and other weapons used in street combat.
Question: Is this a fluke incident or is the Lebanese government FINALLY hitting back by going after Hizbullah's weapons?
Update 3. In the interview with LBC, Murr said that army commander Michel Suleiman has asked for a 3-month leave. According to Murr, Suleiman wanted to resign following the recent events but his resignation was not accepted.