Lebanon prepares for Ahmadinejad

Oct. 10, 2010 at 8:17 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Lebanon is beefing up its security ahead of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's two day visit to the country, a Lebanese security official said.

A security official told the London based al-Hayat newspaper on Sunday that the Lebanese Army will secure the Iranian president's visit, which begins Wednesday. Lebanese media reports said Hezbollah also boosted its security in the region.

In recent days, Iranian officials accompanied by Hezbollah members were spotted touring the sites where their president will visit and checking on security arrangements, the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star said.

The Iranian president will visit Beirut, as well as villages in south Lebanon, and will inaugurate an exact replica of the Al-Aqsa mosque built with Iranian funding in the village of Maron-A-Ras.

Large posters greeting the Iranian president are hanging in south Lebanese villages, the paper said. Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah will appear at a rally in southern Beirut Thursday.

Nasrallah Saturday said Iran had given Hezbollah funds that helped reconstruct Lebanese homes damaged in the Second Lebanon War with Israel in 2006, the Tehran Times newspaper said.

"Hezbollah does not trust the Lebanese government's bureaucracy, and the Iranians paid in cash," Haaretz quoted Nasrallah saying.

Responding to reports the Iranian president planned to visit near the border with Israel and throw stones at Israeli soldiers, Nasrallah said: "If Ahmadinejad wanted to throw something on Israel, he would throw something bigger than stones," Haaretz said.

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