Hezbollah stored explosive material from 2016 in Germany, says minister

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Hezbollah stored explosive material from 2016 in Germany, says minister
Last month, a devastating explosion rocked Beirut Port, killing 191 people and injuring more than 6,000.
By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
SEPTEMBER 7, 2020

Interior minister of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg Thomas Strobl confirmed on Friday that the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah stored ammonium nitrate, a chemical that the Shi’ite entity has used for bombs to murder civilians in plots across the globe. "The stored cold packs were brought out of Germany in 2016," said Strobl, according to a regional German newspaper. He added that "There are no findings or indications that the local cold pack storage is related to the storage in the Port of Beirut."

Last month, a devastating explosion rocked Beirut Port, killing 191 people and injuring more than 6,000. The port contained nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, which can be used as a fertilizer or to make explosives, and was lodged at the harbor for six years. Hezbollah operatives have used ammonium nitrate for terrorist plots in France, Britain, Cyprus and Bulgaria. The Lebanese organization has denied any involvement in the Beirut explosion. Hezbollah is widely viewed as controlling Beirut's port system. Strobl responded to an early August state government parliamentary query from Free Democratic Party politician Hans-Ulrich Rülke and Nico Weinmann about the illicit activities in the state.

The interior minister said that Rülke urged him to crack down on Hezbollah’s fundraising and membership in Baden-Württemberg, where 75 Hezbollah operatives are active. It is unclear why Strobl has not banned Hezbollah activities in his state. In April, Germany’s federal interior minister Horst Seehofer outlawed all Hezbollah activities within the territory of the federal republic. Lebanese sheiks have travelled to Baden-Württemberg to give talks and raise funds. It is unclear if the Green Party minister-president of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, permitted Hezbollah to store ammonium nitrate in his state or was aware of Hezbollah's activities.

THE JERUSALEM Post wrote in May that Channel 12 reported that an Israeli official said the operation to ban Hezbollah was “the result of many months of work with all parties in Germany. The heads of services were required to present explicit evidence and legal proof… linking the organization to significant terrorist activity – and that is what we did,” the official said, adding that “Bruno Kahl, the head of the German intelligence organization BND, is a close friend of the Mossad.” The German paper Die Welt reported last month that the Mossad warned German authorities that Hezbollah supporters stored hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate in warehouses in south Germany. It is unclear if Baden-Württemberg was the only southern German state to lodge the chemical.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration opposes UN snapback sanctions against Iran’s regime that would prevent it from purchasing new conventional weapons. Hezbollah is the chief terrorism proxy for the Islamic Republic of Iran and receives weapons and cash from Tehran. The US government under both the Obama and Trump administrations has classified Iran’s regime as the worst state sponsor of international terrorism. Rülke said that “Strobl must finally act and prevent Hezbollah-affiliated organizations from inviting hate preachers to Baden-Württemberg and collecting money for terrorist purposes,” according to a local media outlet. Weinmann asked when the security services first knew about the ammonium nitrate.

Critics say that the state of Baden-Württemberg has a traditionally lax control policy toward Hezbollah and the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel. A Post investigation traced neo-Nazi party and BDS accounts to the BW bank, which is owned by the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) financial institution in southern Germany. The BW accounts allow the allegedly hate-mongering groups to receive electronically transferred donation funds, which both organizations advertise on their websites. The BW Bank in the German city of Stuttgart stood by its business accounts with a neo-Nazi party and a Palestinian group that seeks the destruction of Israel.

The state of Baden-Württemberg and its capital city Stuttgart own nearly 50% of the LBBW. Kretschmann has refused to answer Post questions as to whether he plans to urge the bank to close the accounts of the pro-BDS Palestine Committee Stuttgart and the Nazi party NPD. The Green Party’s foreign policy spokesman and MP Omid Nouripour is involved in an antisemitic scandal due to his role on the advisory board of the German-Palestinian Society – a BDS organization that has urged the elimination of the Jewish state. Nouripour also declined to answer Post queries.

https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/h...ial-from-2016-in-germany-says-minister-641405
 
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