North Korea Denies it Helps Hamas and Hezbollah
North Korea has denounced allegations that it supplied missiles to Hamas and material support to Hezbollah as "sheer fiction" and a "sinister" effort to link Pyongyang to Middle East disputes, AFP reports.
The rebuttal from the foreign ministry was carried in a statement late Monday by the North's official KCNA news agency.
It followed a weekend report by Britain's Daily Telegraph, citing Western security sources, that the Hamas terrorist group had already made an initial cash down payment to secure additional missiles and communications equipment from North Korea.
That report came days after a U.S. federal judge in Washington ruled that North Korea had provided advanced weaponry to the Hezbollah group in Lebanon.
"This is utterly baseless sophism and sheer fiction let loose by the U.S. to isolate (North Korea) internationally," the foreign ministry statement said.
"Lurking behind this propaganda is a sinister intention of the U.S. to justify its criminal acts of backing Israel," it said, accusing Washington of seeking to stir up anti-Pyongyang sentiment by linking the North to the Middle East disputes.
Weapons exports are a crucial source of hard currency for North Korea, which is known to have long-standing arms trade links with Syria and Iran.
In 2009, a plane loaded with 35 tons of weapons from North Korea made an emergency landing in Bangkok, where it was impounded.
Security officials believe the flight was bound for Iran and that the arms were eventually destined for Hezbollah.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently warned that Iran "would share whatever (nuclear) technology it acquired with North Korea."