TEL AVIV—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday accused Hezbollah of improperly storing weapons in a civilian area near Lebanon’s capital that could explode soon, adding pressure on the Iran-allied group as it faces blowback over August’s deadly blast in Beirut.
Mr. Netanyahu showed satellite photos of what he said was a missile factory located near a gas company, a gas station and civilian housing. Mr. Netanyahu made the remarks in a video address to the U.N. General Assembly, a favorite venue of the embattled premier, where he often comes prepared with maps and graphics aimed at condemning the behavior of Iran and allied groups such as Hezbollah.
“If this thing explodes, it’s another tragedy,” he said. “Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger.”
His speech echoed concerns of other Israeli officials who have accused Hezbollah of hiding weapons, but it also comes at a moment of intense political pressure for Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.
Mr. Netanyahu’s government imposed a second nationwide lockdown that has disrupted Jewish holidays and hammered struggling Israeli businesses in order to contain a surging coronavirus outbreak. Israel has one of the worst daily infection rates per capita, with new cases hovering at about 7,000 a day.
Mr. Netanyahu made his remarks in a video address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Thousands of people have been demonstrating in weekly protests against Mr. Netanyahu and his handling of the pandemic as well as corruption charges he faces.
Mr. Netanyahu ran three elections over the space of a year focusing on his security record and his efforts to advance Israel’s position on the world stage. His focus on such issues in Tuesday’s speech, including recent diplomatic agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, sought to highlight that work even as he faces growing domestic criticism on other fronts.
In response to Mr. Netanyahu’s allegations, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah urged journalists to visit the site. “We will allow the media to enter…into the facility that Netanyahu talked about so that the entire world discovers his lies.”
The owner of the factory told reporters on TV he was surprised by Mr. Netanyahu’s statements and said the building mentioned by the Israeli prime minister is a foundry. Inside the building, Hezbollah supporters chanted for the party and pledged their support.
Journalists toured a building in a Beirut suburb that Mr. Netanyahu said was a Hezbollah weapons depot. The factory’s owner denied the accusation.
anwar amro/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Mr. Netanyahu said a similar weapons facility exploded in southern Lebanon last week. A Hezbollah official said the blast occurred at a facility used by a group that decommissions explosive material gathered after the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.
That explosion came after security lapses led to the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut’s port, which killed nearly 200 people, injured more than 6,000 and left thousands of homes in ruins. Lebanese authorities said the blast occurred when a fire at a warehouse ignited a cache of ammonium nitrate, an explosive material stored at the site for more than six years.
Over the past year, Israel has widened its campaign to blunt the threat posed by Iran’s ally, which it says is working to manufacture precision-guided missiles and build tunnels into northern Israel.
Israel’s military also on Tuesday released information about two other sites in Hezbollah-controlled areas of Beirut it said are part of the group’s precision-guided missile program. Israel says the program poses a significant threat because the missiles could overwhelm its own missile defense systems.
The Israeli military released renderings and satellite imagery of what it said was a manufacturing site located under four seven-story apartment buildings home to 70 families and another manufacturing site located under five apartment buildings where 50 families live.
During a U.N. address in 2018, Mr. Netanyahu released information about several other sites he said Hezbollah used to manufacture missiles. Hezbollah arranged a visit for journalists and diplomats several days later in a bid to refute Mr. Netanyahu’s allegations.
—Nazih Osseiran in Beirut contributed to this article.
Write to Felicia Schwartz at Felicia.Schwartz@wsj.com
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