Hezbollah acquired a large amount of ammonium nitrate in the same time period that the ammonium nitrate stored at the Beirut port that caused the devastating explosion on August 4 was delivered, according to a report by the German newspaper Die Welt, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
“According to information from Western secret services that is available to Welt, Hezbollah in Lebanon received large deliveries of ammonium nitrate, which are closely related to the material detonated in Beirut,” the report stated.
The chemicals that caused the blast are believed to have been stored at the Beirut port since 2014, which corresponds to the same time period when Hezbollah received their deliveries.
Hezbollah “had considerable quantities of ammonium nitrate delivered to Lebanon precisely at that time (late 2013 or early 2014), the Welt report stated. “The Quds unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, i.e. the part of those paramilitaries responsible for foreign operations, which also has a key political position in Iran, is said to have been responsible for the transport.”
Hezbollah is believed to have received its first delivery of 270 tons of ammonium nitrate shipped from Iran, on July 16, 2013, and according to the invoice, the shipment cost 179,399 euros. The next delivery, also 270 tons, was delivered on October 23, 2013, for 140,693 euros.
“The freight from October 2013 is said to have been transported in flexible bulk containers by plane, presumably with one of the officially private Iranian airlines, which are considered the front companies of the Revolutionary Guard,” Welt said.
The details of the third delivery are unknown but the fourth delivery ranged from 90 to 130 tons and was delivered on April 4, 2014 for 61,248 euros.
The report added that one of the airlines that delivered the chemicals, the Iranian-based Mahan Air, “was deprived of the right to take off and land in Germany last year, with an explicit reference to the activities of the Revolutionary Guard.”
Welt named the Hezbollah and Iranian operatives who arranged the deliveries of the chemicals to the Beirut port, including Mohammad Qasir,who was sanctioned by the United States for providing funding for Hezbollah, and Iranian Quds Force member Seyyed Mojtaba Moussavi Tabar.
The Welt report added that it is unclear if the chemicals stored at the Beirut port was the same as the shipments received by Hezbollah. Hezbollah did receive some of their ammonium nitrate deliveries through the port and other shipments were shipped by land through Syria or by air.
On April 30, 2020, Germany banned all Hezbollah political activity on its territory, abolishing the separation of its political wing from its military wing it had maintained until then and designating it in its entirety as a terrorist organization, partially due to the fact that Hezbollah-linked storehouses of ammonium nitrate were discovered in Bavaria thanks to a tip from the Israeli Mossad.
Hezbollah storehouses of ammonium nitrate have also been discovered in the United Kingdom, France and Cyprus.
The European Union has designated Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization since 2013 but allows its political wing to operate in the EU. Only the Netherlands, Germany and more recently, Lithuania, have designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
Lithuania designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and issued a 10-year ban on all individuals related to the group last Thursday.
“After receiving valuable information from our foreign partners, we can assume that Hezbollah is functioning on the principles of a terrorist organization,” Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said, adding that Hezbollah-linked individuals pose a threat to Lithuania’s national security but did not elaborate on the specifics.
The United Kingdom, which is no longer part of the EU, designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in March 2019.
The US State Department designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1997.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)