Lebanon receives U.S. military aid

July 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 18 (UPI) -- The Lebanese military said Thursday it received defense equipment from the U.S. Defense Department as part of an ongoing assistance program.

The Pentagon last month said it was considering sending military equipment to Lebanon to help the military address national security challenges presented by Syrian civil war.

The Lebanese military said Thursday it received 71 armored vehicles from the U.S. military as part of an assistance package, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reports.

Lebanon's stability has been tested in recent months. A convoy from Shiite resistance movement Hezbollah was struck by a car bomb this week as it traveled to the Syrian border. Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Hezbollah's role in Syria's civil war was creating national security challenges at home.

The U.S. government lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The European Union, however, does not, saying it would complicate diplomatic affairs with Beirut. Hezbollah holds administrative offices in the Lebanese government.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued separate reports accusing the Lebanese military of abusing detainees captured during a raid last month in the coastal city of Sidon.

Lebanese forces raided a compound in Sidon belonging to Sunni leader Ahmad Assir. He is viewed as an outspoken cleric opposed to Hezbollah's role in the fight against rebels in Syria.

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