Beirut Airport Hacked Amidst Hezbollah-Israel Clashes, Threatening Regional Stability

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In a dramatic turn of events at Beirut’s international airport, information display screens were reportedly hacked on Sunday by domestic anti-Hezbollah groups. The incident occurred against the backdrop of escalating clashes between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the Israeli military along the border.

Departure and arrival information on the screens were replaced by a message accusing Hezbollah of jeopardizing Lebanon’s security and risking an all-out war with Israel. The message bore the logos of a hardline Christian group known as the Soldiers of God, which has gained attention for campaigns against the LGBTQ+ community in Lebanon, and a lesser-known group calling itself The One Who Spoke. The Christian group, in a video statement, denied its involvement, while the other group shared images of the hacked screens on social media.

The message displayed on the screens delivered a strong warning to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, stating, “You will no longer have supporters if you curse Lebanon with a war for which you will bear responsibility and consequences.” This echoes longstanding criticisms of Hezbollah, accusing the group of smuggling weapons and munitions through Lebanon’s only civilian airport.

The current conflict between Hezbollah and the Israeli military has been ongoing since October 8, following the commencement of the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza. Daily clashes have intensified notably over the past week, fueled further by an Israeli strike in a southern Beirut suburb that resulted in the death of top Hamas official and commander Saleh Arouri.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, addressed the situation in a speech on Saturday, vowing retaliation for Arouri’s killing. Nasrallah dismissed claims that the group seeks a full-scale war with Israel but asserted that if Israel initiates one, Hezbollah is prepared for a war “without limits.”

In response to Arouri’s death, Hezbollah launched a volley of 62 rockets towards an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron, marking what they described as an “initial response.” The Lebanese government and the international community are working to prevent a wider conflict in Lebanon, fearing the potential for regional spillover.

The hack briefly disrupted baggage inspection at the airport, prompting passengers to gather around the compromised screens, capturing images and sharing them on social media. It’s worth noting that Israel and Hezbollah previously engaged in a month-long war in 2006, which concluded in a draw. During the early stages of that conflict, Israel bombed Lebanon’s airport, rendering it temporarily non-operational.

As Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported, the government and the international community remain vigilant, striving to avert a full-scale war that could have dire consequences for the region. The situation continues to unfold rapidly, with concerns about the potential ramifications of the ongoing clashes between Hezbollah and the Israeli military.

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