Iran is using civilian flights to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah
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Iran is allegedly smuggling weapons into Lebanon to the powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah through the use of civilian aircraft.
Western intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Fox News that Iran’s Far Air Qeshm civil airline has been flying unusual routes from Tehran to Beirut with stopovers in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Iran and its Lebanese proxy are supporting Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in the seven-year civil war against rebels and militant groups. They have helped him to recapture large areas of territory his forces had lost in the early years of the conflict.
The officials shared two Far Air Qeshm flight routes from Tehran to Beirut that proved suspicious. One was a July 9 flight from an air base in the Iranian capital that stopped in Damascus before embarking on an “uncharacteristic” flight path to Beirut international airport.
Three members of the airline’s board are members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the elite force tasked with protecting the security of the state. It shuttered in 2013 before relaunching in March 2017.
The report said that the planes were carrying components to be used for manufacturing weapons at its factories in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
“The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West’s abilities to track them down,” the report quoted a regional intelligence source as saying.
The State Department had not responded to The National’s request for comment about the arms smuggling at the time of writing.
Source: The National