France will give Lebanon 100 anti-tank missiles, a Lebanese government official said on Friday, confirming a deal that has raised concerns in Israel and the US.
“Prime Minister Saad Hariri was informed on Wednesday of the French decision to supply the army with 100… HOT missiles that will be used by the military’s Gazelle helicopters,” the official told AFP.
“The missiles will be delivered before the end of February and are being given with no conditions attached.”
In August, a US lawmaker objected to the transfer saying the missiles could end up being used against Israel given the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“The influence of Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian backers in the Lebanese government is rising,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the ranking Republican on the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, had said.
“Therefore, to sell weapons to Lebanon at this time would be very irresponsible and could jeopardize security and stability in the region,” she said.
Local press reports had said Israel also expressed concerns.
In November, Washington lifted a hold it had placed on $100 million in military aid to Lebanon after receiving assurances that the army would closely monitor the border with Israel and that the assistance would not be diverted to Hezbollah.