Hezbollah says sharing Israel war rumours ‘destroying society’

Raad (C) said individuals who were helping to spread these rumours were acting selfishly and harming society’s interests [Getty]

A Hezbollah lawmaker has hit out at Lebanese for spreading rumours about a potential catastrophic war with Israel, saying such ‘fake news’ is “destroying the nation”.

MP Mohammad Raad – whose son was killed in an Israeli airstrike in November – took aim at people he claimed were creating panic and tensions in Lebanon, including by sharing stories about Hezbollah using Beirut airport to smuggle weapons.

“This deadly individualism and selfishness, that destroys the interests of nations and destroys the interests of societies, is behind these lies, fabrications, and rumours that spread on social media sites,” he said during a social event in a south Lebanon town.

Some of these rumours, he mentions, were states re-calling their ambassadors from Beirut and talk of Israel possibly targeting Lebanon’s only international airport.

While several countries have advised their citizens to avoid travelling to Lebanon for the time being, or leave if they’re already there, there has been no confirmation about envoys departing Beirut.

The government and airport authorities were also quick to deny a report by UK’s The Telegraph newspaper last week that Hezbollah was storing weapons at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport.

Caretaker Transport Minister Ali Hamieh took journalists on a tour of the airport to debunk the newspaper’s allegations.

Many of Hezbollah’s supporters and other social media users also lashed out at those who shared The Telegraph article, saying such rumour-mongering would deter visitors from coming to Lebanon this summer, amid a devastating economic crisis for the country, and were part of Israel’s psychological warfare.

There are growing concerns of a wider conflict erupting between Hezbollah and Israel after nearly nine months of cross-border clashes, in parallel with the war on Gaza.

Tens of thousands on both sides of the border have fled heir homes as Israel bombs southern Lebanon and Hezbollah targets Israel with rockets and drones.

Earlier this week, Israel’s national security adviser said Tel Aviv will try to find a diplomatic solution with Hezbollah in the coming weeks but will be forced to resort to military action if diplomacy fails. Hezbollah has repeatedly said it will not halt attacks on Israel until a ceasefire is reached in Gaza.

Both sides have promised to deal heavy blows to one another if a conflict does break out.

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