Hezbollah is moving the same explosive chemicals across Europe that resulted in the deadly Aug. 4 explosion at the Port of Beirut, a senior US official revealed Thursday.
US Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales also told reporters that the Iran-backed group was the cause of Lebanon’s problems and that the European Union needed to expand its designation to cover the group in its entirety.
Sales revealed that since 2012, Hezbollah had established caches of ammonium nitrate in Europe using first aid kits.
“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, have reason to believe that this activity is still underway,” Sales told reporters during a phone call.
Sales said this proved the threat Hezbollah poses to Washington’s European allies. “And that is why we renew our call for more countries to designate Hezbollah in its entirety, and for the European Union to expand its 2013 designation of the so-called military wing to reach the entire organization,” he said.
Lebanon's problem is Hezbollah
As for Lebanon, Sales said the group was a terrorist organization in its entirety.
“The solution [in Lebanon] is that Hezbollah is not a political organization. It’s a terrorist organization to shed blood around the world and act at the behest of its master in Tehran,”
Sales called on the European Union, which currently differentiates between Hezbollah’s political and military wing, to “call it for what is and marginalize and isolate Hezbollah.”
France has been at the forefront of efforts to try to help Lebanon exit its unprecedented financial, economic and political crisis. However, Paris is coordinating with Hezbollah as part of its ongoing discussions with various political parties in Lebanon.
“We have to recognize that we have some pretty substantial disagreements on how to achieve that goal,” of forming a new government, Sales said.
Sales said that French engagement with Hezbollah only serves to legitimatize “what is, in fact, a terrorist organization.”