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Lebanese army soldiers stand at the main entrance of Al-Ahed sports club during a tour for diplomats and journalists near the airport in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher(reuters_tickers)
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's foreign minister said on Monday that Israel sought to "justify another aggression" by making false allegations of missile sites near Beirut airport belonging to Iran-backed Hezbollah.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the United Nations last week, identified three locations near the airport where he said the Shi'ite group Hezbollah was converting "inaccurate projectiles" into precision-guided missiles.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, speaking to foreign ambassadors before taking them on a tour of the area, said there were "many statements ... affirming the possession of accurate missiles by Hezbollah".
But he added: "This does not mean that these missiles are present in the vicinity of Beirut airport".
Bassil accompanied the diplomats, who included Russian and Iranian envoys, and journalists on a tour of three sites near the airport, including the grounds of a top division Lebanese football team, Al-Ahed, which Israel identified as one of the sites.
Bassil, a political ally of Hezbollah, said Israel aimed to "falsify facts concerning Lebanon and to vocalise lies that carry the seeds of a threat that does not frighten us".
Netanyahu had used the platform of the U.N. General Assembly "to justify another aggression on a sovereign country like Lebanon".
Hezbollah, founded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in 1982, last fought a major conflict with Israel in 2006. The group has grown stronger since then, notably through its role in the Syrian war fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said last month the group had obtained precision rockets despite Israeli strikes in Syria.
The Israeli military released a video clip and photos of what it said were Hezbollah rocket building sites in Beirut.
(Reporting by Beirut bureau; Editing by Richard Balmforth)