Radicals linked to Iranian-backed Hezbollah were caught stashing tons of explosive materials in northwest London in a secret British bomb factory, M15 and Metropolitan Police officers discovered in 2015, only months after the UK signed on to the Iran nuclear deal.
Israeli media reports claim that Israeli officials confirmed the Mossad provided the intelligence for the operation.
According to a breaking report by The Daily Telegraph
, thousands of disposable ice packs were found in the factory that contained ammonium nitrate, an ingredient for homemade bombs.
The report said that the raid was hidden from the public for years, including from MPs who were debating the Hezbollah ban earlier this year. It also questioned whether senior figures in the British government did so as to not impact the Iran nuclear deal.
The raid, a joint operation by MI5 operatives and the Met Police, included four properties overall, while a man in his 40s was arrested on suspicion of terrorist-related activity.
“The Security Service and police work tirelessly to keep the public safe from a host of national security threats,” said Ben Wallace, UK minister for security and economic crime. “Necessarily, their efforts and success will often go unseen.”
The discovery was considered so serious that then-prime minister David Cameron and then-home secretary Theresa May were personally notified.
According to the investigation by The Telegraph, the factory in London was not an isolated cell but is being seen as part of a wider international plot by Hezbollah to lay the basis for future attacks, including the discovery of cells in New York, Thailand, and Cyprus, where a 26-year-old was caught with 65,000 ice packs in a basement and later admitted to being a member of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah was only banned as an organization in the UK in February, more than three years after the discovery of the factory. The United States, Israel, Canada, the Arab League and the European Union consider Hezbollah a terrorist group.
Alex Winston contributed to this report.
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