$3bn Kingdom aid to bolster Lebanon Army

Updated 09 January 2014
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$3bn Kingdom aid to bolster Lebanon Army

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 billion for the Lebanese Army to buy equipment from France, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman announced on Sunday.
The Kingdom “decided to provide generous assistance to Lebanon in the form of $3 billion for the Lebanese Army to strengthen its capabilities,” Suleiman said, adding that it was the largest assistance provided in Lebanon’s history.
The aid pledge comes amid mounting sectarian tension in Lebanon related to the war in neighboring Syria.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces against an uprising. Suleiman said the money would be used to buy weapons from France, pointing to the “historical ties that link it to Lebanon and the depth of the military cooperation between the two countries.”
Suleiman did not specify what weapons would be purchased.
Lebanon’s armed forces are woefully under-equipped and face multiplying security challenges, underlined by the bomb attack on Friday and rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel on Sunday that prompted return fire from the Jewish state.
The armed forces are responsible for domestic security as well as national defense, and contain members from across Lebanon’s multisectarian population.
Ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri welcomed the Saudi pledge and said it came as part of a project to impose state control.


Did lightning strike trigger Gaza rocket attack on Israel?

Updated 23 October 2018
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Did lightning strike trigger Gaza rocket attack on Israel?

  • Hamas took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack
  • Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true

JERUSALEM: A theory that a lightning strike triggered Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza last week gained traction in Israel on Tuesday and might explain the Israeli military’s limited response.
Two rockets were launched from the Hamas-ruled enclave on Oct. 17. But the group took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack. Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true.
One of the rockets wrecked a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, causing no casualties, the other landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel responded with air strikes that killed a militant in Gaza.
Soon afterwards, video appeared on social media showing lightning illuminating the night sky in Gaza and then two flaming rockets streaking into the air.
Israel’s best-selling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet now believed the lighting set off a launch mechanism.
Asked about the report, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the security cabinet, told Israel Radio: “I won’t discuss security cabinet meetings and I don’t know which ministers are chatting with journalists, but I can say that as far as we know, Hamas did not intend to fire those rockets.”
Hamas officials had no immediate comment.
The rocket launchings coincided with Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars in the past 10 years.