US Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales on Thursday accused Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Lebanese movement, of stockpiling across Europe ammonia nitrate – an explosive fertiliser that destroyed the port in Beirut.
“Today the US government is unveiling new information about Hezbollah presence in Europe. Since 2012 Hezbollah has established caches of ammonium nitrate throughout Europe. Today I can reveal that some caches has been moved from Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland,” Sales said during a webinar. “I can also reveal that significant ammonium nitrate caches have been discovered and destroyed in France, Greece, Italy. We have reasons to believe that this activity is still underway.”
The US diplomat claimed that Hezbollah’s intention is to use the substance as a weapon for carrying out major terror attacks if such orders come from its Iranian patrons.
“The question than becomes ‘Why would Hezbollah stockpile ammonium nitrate on European soil?’ Answer is clear – Hezbollah has put these weapons in place so that it conduct major terror attacks whenever… Tehran deems necessary,” Sales said.
He called a blast that rocked Lebanon’s capital in August and destroyed its port “a vivid reminder of how dangerous ammonium nitrate can be.” Sales said that the revelations show that more European countries “need to act now” to outlaw Hezbollah in its entirety – without making distinction between its military wing and political leadership.