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.

Afghan head of peace talks says ready for dialogue with Taliban

Updated 7 min 18 sec ago

Afghan head of peace talks says ready for dialogue with Taliban

  • Abdullah Abdullah: ongoing lull in violence set the tone for launching the peace talks
  • Taliban offered a rare three-day cease-fire that ended on Tuesday night to mark the Eid Al-Fitr
KABUL: A top Afghan official appointed to lead the much-awaited peace talks with the Taliban said Saturday his team was ready to start “at any moment” with the insurgents.
Abdullah Abdullah, who heads a council to represent the government in negotiations, said an ongoing lull in violence triggered by a surprise cease-fire offered by the insurgents had set the tone for launching the peace talks.
“The announcement of the cease-fire, a reduction in violence and the exchange of prisoners have all paved the way for a good beginning,” Abdullah said at his first press conference since taking on the role.
“The negotiating team is ready to begin the talks at any moment,” he said.
However, he added that there must be a fresh cease-fire during the talks.
The Taliban offered a rare three-day cease-fire that ended on Tuesday night to mark the Eid Al-Fitr festival.
Officials have blamed the Taliban for carrying out some deadly attacks against security forces since the cease-fire ended, but also acknowledged that the temporary truce has led to an overall fall in violence across much of the country.
The government responded to the cease-fire by accelerating the release of hundreds of Taliban prisoners.
The peace talks between the government and Taliban were scheduled to begin before March 10.
The United States has pushed the two sides to begin negotiating with an aim to end the nearly two-decades old war in the impoverished country.
Washington has signed a separate deal with the Taliban, which stipulates that all foreign forces will be withdrawn from the country by May next year.
Abdullah was appointed to lead the peace talks after he ended his bitter political feud with President Ashraf Ghani earlier this month.
Abdullah had announced himself as a rival president after he rejected the result of the September election which was won by incumbent Ghani.