Hezbollah stockpiled 3 tons of explosives in London

A foreign government tipped off UK government about the hidden stashes of ammonium nitrate. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 June 2019

Hezbollah stockpiled 3 tons of explosives in London

  • British authorities found disposable ice packs with ammonium nitrate hidden inside them
  • The country added Hezbollah to their terrorist group list last year

LONDON: Radicals linked to the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement were found to be stockpiling bomb-making ingredients in London in 2015 in a case that was kept “hidden from the public,” the Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.

Following a tip-off from a foreign government, British police and the MI5 intelligence service discovered thousands of disposable ice packs containing three tons of ammonium nitrate, the report said, citing security sources.

One man was arrested in a series of four raids in northwest London but he was later released without charge after what the paper said was a “covert intelligence operation” that was not aimed at seeking criminal prosecution.

The paper said that the decision not to inform the public about the discovery, which came shortly after the Iran nuclear deal was concluded, would “raise eyebrows.”

The paper said then prime minister David Cameron and interior minister Theresa May were informed but MPs who were debating whether to ban Hezbollah in Britain were not.

The paper said similar discoveries of ice packs used to store explosives were made in other parts of the world.

It said ice packs were used as they looked harmless and were easier to transport. The report added that no attack was imminent and the ammonium nitrate had not been weaponized.

Hezbollah’s militant wing was banned at the time but the Lebanese Shiite group in its entirety was only added to Britain’s terrorist group list earlier this year.


Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

Updated 11 min 21 sec ago

Blasphemy accusation in Pakistan sparks ransacking of Hindu temple, school

  • The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: A crowd in Pakistan ransacked a school and Hindu temple after a Hindu principal was accused of blasphemy, police said on Monday, the latest case to raise concern about the fate of religious minorities in the predominantly Muslim country.
The violence erupted in the southern province of Sindh after a student accused the Hindu principal of blasphemy in comments about the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The enraged crowd ransacked the school and damaged a nearby temple, a district police chief said.
The principal had been taken into protective custody and police were investigating both the alleged blasphemy and the rioters, he added.
“It seems the principal had not done anything intentionally,” the district police chief, Furrukh Ali, told Reuters.
Insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the world.
No executions for blasphemy have been carried out in Pakistan but enraged mobs sometimes kill people accused of it.
Rights groups say the blasphemy law is often exploited by religious hard-liners as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle scores.
The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan condemned the weekend violence, footage of which was recorded in a video and circulated on social media. It called on authorities should take prompt action.
“The video ... is chilling: mob violence against a member of a religious minority is barbaric, unacceptable,” the commission said in a post on Twitter.
Hindus make up about 1.6 percent of Pakistan’s population of 208 million, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims.
In January, the Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a Christian women who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy in a case that had drawn alarm from religious and human rights advocates.
In March, Pakistan’s government sacked a provincial minister for making offensive comments about Hindus as tension between Pakistan and Hindu-majority neighbor India ran high after a militant attack in the Indian-controlled portion of the contested Kashmir region.