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“Report: France to Send Lebanon 100 Anti - Tank Missiles”
by Haaretz Service -   
December 18th, 2010

A French official tells AFP news agency that France will transfer the arms to Lebanon by the end of February, without preconditions.

The French official told the news agency that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was informed in a letter by French Premier Francois Fillon about the decision to supply Lebanon's army with 100 anti-tank missiles, to be used by Lebanon's Gazelle helicopters.

According to the official, the missiles are to be delivered to Lebanon by the end of February, and France will provide the missiles to Lebanon without any preconditions.

The United States House of Representatives expressed in August its disapproval of the deal, claiming the missiles might be used against Israel, due to the rising influence of Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In August, an Israel Defense Forces reserve battalion commander was killed in fatal clashes between Israel and the Lebanese army along the border. Following the incident Israel launched a diplomatic campaign calling on the United States and France to stop their military assistance to Lebanon. The U.S. responded by withholding from Lebanon $100 million of military aid.

However, last month the U.S. renewed its military aid to Lebanon, after the Lebanese army had made a commitment to keep track of developments on the border and to prevent funds from reaching Hezbollah.

The United States has given Lebanon approximately $400 million over the past year to purchase arms, despite Israel's objections. France has also sent a great deal of weaponry to Lebanon, including advanced anti-tank missiles.

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