The US State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Nathan Sales, has revealed that Lebanon’s Hezbollah has stored caches of weapons and ammonium nitrate across Europe.
“Since 2012, Hezbollah has established caches of ammonium nitrate throughout Europe by transporting first aid kits that contain the substance,” Sales said in a video appearance.
“I can reveal that such 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 under way. As of 2018, ammonium nitrate caches were still suspected within Europe, possibly in Greece, Italy and Spain.”
Hezbollah is classified as a terrorist group by the United States.
“Hezbollah represents a clear and present danger to the US today. Hezbollah represents a clear and present danger to Europe today,” Sales said.
“The bottom line is that the EU’s approach since 2013 simply hasn’t worked. 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. And it will continue to do so until Europe takes decisive action, as the UK and Germany have both done.”
The UK and Germany have named the whole organization as a terrorist entity earlier this year.
The US official's comments came more than a month after a massive blast at Beirut Port killed at least 190 people and ravaged swathes of the city.
The Aug. 4 blast was caused by the explosion of tons of ammonium nitrate left for years at the port, of which officials had long been aware.