For three and a half years, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency played a cat-and-mouse game with the Hezbollah terror group to stymie its efforts to establish explosives storehouses from Thailand to New York, an Israeli intelligence official confirmed this week.
The largest cache, containing some three tons of ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient for some types of explosives, was found at four locations in north London, sites raided by the Metropolitan Police in September 2015. Other caches planted by Hezbollah cells were discovered in Cyprus, Thailand and as-yet unnamed European countries, according to reports.
The Hezbollah plot to establish infrastructure in London in preparation for future attacks was revealed Sunday in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
That report, based on sources in Britain, the US and Cyprus, noted that a foreign intelligence agency, unnamed, had tipped off Britain’s MI5 and the Metropolitan Police about the explosives.
On Monday, an unnamed senior Israeli official told Israel’s Kan public broadcaster the warning had come from the Mossad.
On Wednesday, a report in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily expanded on the revelation, citing unnamed Israeli intelligence officials offering new details about the Israeli effort to stymie Hezbollah’s activities — which police in London, Cyprus and Thailand have concluded were ultimately directed at Israeli assets in those countries.
“Hezbollah is preparing for a situation in which it will decide to seek revenge, whether for something taking place between Israel and Lebanon or for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, and has established a network of enormous caches of advanced explosive materials” for that purpose, Yedioth quoted an Israeli intelligence official as saying.
The Mossad learned in 2014 of the plan by Hezbollah’s Unit 910, responsible for the group’s foreign operations, to develop the ability to launch massive terror attacks at will around the world.
Mossad information enabled Thai authorities to nab a cell in the country in early 2015, followed in April of that year by the arrest of Hezbollah operative Hussein Abdullah in Cyprus after his cellar was found to contain a ton of ammonium nitrate.
The Israeli source told Yedioth that the effort by the Lebanese terror group involved “long-term planning for immense, game-changing terror attacks. Luckily, someone was in the right place at the right time to issue a warning, to pass on the information and to prevent the establishment of this infrastructure.”