Whilst the exact cause of Tuesday’s huge explosion in the Port of Beirut hasn’t yet been confirmed, links between the explosion site and Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah haven’t been ruled out.

In July 2019, the then Israel Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, shared Israeli intelligence information with the UN Security Council showing Iran-backed Hezbollah’s exploitation of the civilian maritime channels, specifically the Port of Beirut, which he described as the “Port of Hezbollah”.

“In the years 2018-2019, Israel found that dual-use items are smuggled into Lebanon to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities,” Danny Danon revealed to the Security Council.

Danon said that Iran’s Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which directs Iranian interventions abroad, had begun “to advance the exploitation of the civilian maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut.”

“The Port of Beirut has become the Port of Hezbollah,” Danon said.

Danon disclosed that Iran and Hezbollah were aided by Syrian agents who purchased the dual-use equipment — meaning it can be used for both civilian and military purposes — from foreign civilian companies and transferred it to Lebanon. These agents misled the companies when they officially unloaded the equipment at the Port of Beirut, Danon said, which was then transported to Hezbollah’s missile production facilities.

Danon said that Hezbollah regularly uses civilian centers in Lebanon to illegally transport arms, in “flagrant violation” of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which calls for the disarming of the terrorist organization. Danon also presented the Security Council with a map of various weapons transfer routes.

The Israeli envoy urged UN member states to take extra precautions with regard to the sale of dual-use equipment.

“Are you absolutely sure your companies are not the ones selling dual-use equipment to the hands of Hezbollah?” Danon asked. “Are you sure your citizens know the end-users of these dual-use items?”

 
 
Storage of ammonium nitrate
 
Lebanese authorities are reporting that the site of the explosion contained a storage of  2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, apparently confiscated from a ship. The material, which is a component of fertiliser is also used for bomb making.
 
Hezbollah kept three metric tons of ammonium nitrate in a storehouse in London, until MI5 and the London Metropolitan Police found it in 2015. The Lebanese terrorist group also stored hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate in southern Germany, which were uncovered earlier this year, reports the Jerusalem Post. 
 
The Iran-backed terrorists kept the explosive in thousands of ice packs in four properties in northwest London, according to a report in The Telegraph last year. The ice pack deception tactic was used in Germany, as well.
 

A source was quoted in The Telegraph saying the ammonium nitrate was to be used for “proper organized terrorism” and could have caused “a lot of damage.”

In 2019, the UK banned Hezbollah, making it a criminal offense to support or be a member of the group, carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, although at the time CUFI raised concerns regarding why it took four years for Hezbollah to be banned outright in the UK, despite authorities’ knowledge of the plot along with other clear evidence that Hezbollah was and remains a threat to the UK.
 
Then-home secretary Savid Javid said the Lebanese terrorist group “is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already-banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”

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