Lebanon opens bank account to receive donated funds to buy weapons for army

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's defense minister says the government has opened an account at the central bank to receive donated funds to buy weapons for the country's military.

The call for donations is in protest of a decision by a U.S. congressman this month to suspend $100 million worth of American military aid over concerns the weapons could be turned on Israel and that the militant Hezbollah group may have influence over the Lebanese army.

Defense Minister Elias Murr announced the account Saturday. He and his father, Michel, a legislator, donated 1 billion pounds ($665,000).

Since 2006, the United States has provided Lebanon with over $720 million in military aid, including assault rifles, Humvees, missile and grenade launchers and night vision goggles, in addition to training.