US speeding up military aid shipments to Lebanon

May 15th, 2008 - 12:24 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 15 (DPA) The US is picking up the pace of military aid shipments to Lebanon to help the government provide security following the outbreak of violence between rival militias, the US State Department said. The shipments include protective gear to communications equipment and ammunition under a programme launched by the US about two years ago, department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Wednesday.

“What we’re doing now is expediting the shipment of some of the things that were already in the pipeline,” Casey said.

The Lebanese military was unable to stop fighting that broke out last week between the Iranian-backed Shia Hezbollah and militias backing the pro-western government of Prime Minister Fouad Seniora.

The violence broke out May 7 after the Seniora government announced it was investigating a telecommunications network run by Hezbollah and sacking the head of the international airport outside Beirut over suspected ties to the Shia militants.

Six days of fighting has left at least 82 people dead as Hezbollah seized control of key roads in the capital and the one leading to the airport.

The US considers Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and has blamed the group for the recent outbreak of violence. US President George W. Bush, in Jerusalem Wednesday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel’s creation, accused Hezbollah of turning on the Lebanese people.

“Hezbollah, the so-called protector of the Lebanese against Israel, has now turned on its own people,” Bush said at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

“Hezbollah is supported by Iran and this is an Iranian effort to destabilise that young democracy and the US stands strongly with the Siniora government,” Bush said.

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