Top US Counterterrorism Official Reveals Hezbollah Caches of Ammonium Nitrate Have Been Discovered Across Europe
A top US counterterrorism official said on Thursday that caches of ammonium nitrate belonging to the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shi’a terrorist group Hezbollah had been found across Europe.
Nathan Sales, the coordinator for counterterrorism at the US State Department, told an event hosted by the American Jewish Committee, “I can reveal that such [Hezbollah weapons] caches have been moved through Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.”
“I can also reveal that significant ammonium nitrate caches have been discovered or destroyed in France, Greece and Italy,” he said.
“We have reason to believe that this activity is still underway,” Sales noted. “As of 2018, ammonium nitrate caches were still suspected within Europe, possibly in Greece, Italy and Spain.”
“Why would Hezbollah stockpile ammonium nitrate on European soil?” he asked. “The answer is clear. It can conduct major terror attacks whenever its masters in Tehran deem it necessary.”
“It’s not what you would expect from a political organization, but it’s exactly what you would expect from a terrorist group,” he added.
Sales criticized the European Union for failing to ban Hezbollah’s “political wing,” as opposed to its “military wing.”
“The bottom line is that the EU’s approach since 2013 simply hasn’t worked,” he said. “The limited designation of Hezbollah’s so-called military wing hasn’t dissuaded the group from preparing for terrorist attacks across the continent.”
“Hezbollah continues to see Europe as a vital platform for its operational, logistical, and fundraising activities,” Sales asserted. “And it will continue to do so until Europe takes decisive action.”
While no Hezbollah link to the incident has been officially determined yet, an explosion of a cache of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Beirut last month caused nearly 200 deaths and devastated a large swathe of the Lebanese capital.
BREAKING: Senior @StateDept counterterrorism official Amb. Nathan Sales reveals to an AJC audience that Hezbollah weapons caches, including significant stores of ammonium nitrate, have been discovered and destroyed throughout Europe.
— American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) September 17, 2020