According to a report from Al-Akhbar on November 21, multiple mysterious foreign military cargo flights are continuing to land at Beirut and Hamat airports. There has been increased speculation about whether the flights are bringing in equipment to be used against Hezbollah.
Between November 14 and 20, at least nine planes from multiple NATO countries have been recorded as landing at either the Beirut or Hamat airports. According to Intelsky, a website that monitors aircraft movement throughout the region, more than one flight originated from Tel Aviv.
Al-Akhbar sources report several jamming devices were included in the cargo, raising questions regarding why the cargo is being transported to Lebanon and if Hezbollah communication networks will be disrupted if fighting escalates with Israeli forces throughout south Lebanon.
Hezbollah and Israel have gone back and forth in tit-for-tat clashes and rocket strikes since the Hamas attack on October 7.
The Hezbollah communication network played a vital role during the war against Israel in July 2006, leading to pressure from the United States on then-Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government to call for the resistance group’s communication network to be dismantled in 2008.
According to the sources speaking with Al-Akhbar, neither the Beirut nor Hamat airport security authorities take cargo inspection seriously. Hamat Air Bale doesn’t even have the proper devices to scan what is being flown in. Also, the final destination in Lebanon is still unknown for any of the equipment.
Intelsky reports show that the number of foreign military aircraft flying in and out of Lebanon hasn’t been seen for years. From October 8 to November 10, 32 planes from the Dutch, U.S., and British Air Forces landed at the Hamat base, and 23 planes belonging to the Canadian, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, U.S., and Saudi armies landed at the designated base for military and diplomatic aircraft on the west side of Beirut airport.
While direct flights between Lebanon and Israel are prohibited by Lebanese law, Intelsky reports monitoring three planes landing in Beirut with the flights originating from Tel Aviv.
On November 14, a British Royal Air Force Airbus A400M Atlas landed in Beirut following a “touch-and-go” operation, where the plane touched the runway. It then directly took off without stopping in Cyprus at a British Military base. The touch-and-go routine was used again before the aircraft returned to Tel Aviv, technically complying with Lebanese law.
On November 16, a US Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III flew from Tel Aviv to Beirut. According to the Intelsky website, the plane made an alleged landing in Cyprus but disappeared from radars before landing. The aircraft then reappeared after supposedly taking off.
Radars over Larnaca lost track of the plane for over four minutes at an altitude of 1,264 meters, suggesting there was no landing in Cyprus.
On November 21, a British Royal Air Force Airbus A400M Atlas landed in Beirut following a camouflaged landing in Akrotiri. With an altitude of just 375 meters over the base, the aircraft more than likely violated Lebanese law, making it a direct flight from Tel Aviv to Beirut.
According to Al-Akhbar, the flights are very suspicious regarding whether they are part of a more comprehensive plan regarding the conflict with Israel. The strategy could enhance the military capabilities of some regional parties working to benefit Israel or NATO or provide logistical support, including transporting needed supplies and equipment.