A Daily Telegraph report has revealed how the discovery of more than three tons of ice-packed ammonium nitrate, intended for a Hezbollah terror attack here in the UK, was subsequently covered up.
The report found that the arrest of a 40-year-old man, who was later released, came only months after the UK joined other countries in signing the Iran nuclear raising speculation that the discovery was hushed up to avoid derailing the agreement with Iran, which is the main sponsor of Hezbollah.
Whilst we don’t know the grounds for the suspect’s release, it is right that questions are being asked about why the British public was kept in the dark about the plot, especially as both David Cameron and Theresa May, then the prime minister and home secretary, were personally briefed on what had been found.
Described as “proper organised terrorism”, the hoard of ammonium nitrate was more than what was used in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. Thanks to British intelligence and a tip off from a foreign agency, the London plot was thwarted.
The discovery of explosive materials in London for use by Hezbollah is further evidence of the threat from Iran-backed terror here in the UK. It is unbelievable that only months after the UK signed the Iran Deal, Britain seemingly ignored this new evidence and continued to support the deal. The agreement, which former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond hailed as a “victory for diplomacy”, blatantly fails to hold Iran to account for its support for international terror, including for its proxy Hezbollah. This discovery should also raise serious concerns about the UK Government’s willingness to keep the failed Iran nuclear deal alive at all costs
President Trump decided to end US involvement in the Iran Deal due to Iran’s proven lies and violations of the deal’s terms, but the UK and European partners remain supportive.
Questions must also be asked about why it took over three years for Britain to ban Hezbollah outright. CUFI was at the forefront of efforts calling upon government to outlaw Hezbollah, repeatedly explaining that Britain’s proscription of Hezbollah’s “military” arm but not its “political” wing was inadequate. It meant that it was possible for people within the UK to openly support Hezbollah without any consequence whatsoever even though Hezbollah itself does not differentiate between its political and military wings.
Earlier this year, however, Home Secretary Sajid Javid introduced a new law banning Hezbollah in its entirety.
At the time the ban received opposition from Britain’s opposition party. Shockingly, the Labour called on Sajid Javid to prove the validity of the ban citing “that there was not sufficient evidence” and accused the Home Secretary of banning the group because of “leadership ambitions”.
According to the report, the plot was part of a wider Hezbollah plan to lay the groundwork for future attacks and noted foiled Hezbollah operations in Thailand, Cyprus and New York. All those plots were made public and were believed to have targeted Israeli interests around the world.
The Telegraph said that in Cyprus the ammonia nitrate was also stored in ice packs, saying that they were a convenient, seemingly harmless and easy to transport.
The Telegraph said the Cyprus case was strikingly similar to the one in London. In 2015 in Cyprus, confessed Hezbollah agent Hussein Bassam Abdallah was sentenced to six years in jail after he was found with 8.2 tons of ammonia nitrate in his home. He had reportedly planned to attack Israeli targets.
“MI5 worked independently and closely with international partners to disrupt the threat of malign intent from Iran and its proxies in the UK,” a UK intelligence source told the paper.
“The Security Service and police work tirelessly to keep the public safe from a host of national security threats. Necessarily, their efforts and success will often go unseen,” said Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace.
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