Extremists linked to the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah have been caught stashing tons of explosive materials in a secret bomb factory in north-west London, The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.
Acting on information from Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad, British authorities raided four properties in the outskirts of London, discovering thousands of disposable ice packs containing more than three tons of ammonium nitrate – a common ingredient in homemade bombs.
Officials observed that British intelligence worked “closely with international partners to disrupt the threat of malign intent from Iran and its proxies in the UK.”
The Telegraph cited “well-placed sources” as saying that “the plot had been disrupted by a covert intelligence operation,” just months after Iran signed the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.
The paper speculated that senior British government officials “chose not to reveal the incident in part because they were invested in keeping the Iran nuclear deal afloat.” Then-Prime Minister David Cameron and then-Home Secretary Theresa May were personally notified of the operation.
The plot was also kept secret from British lawmakers, who were debating at the time whether to designate Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization in its entirety.
The British cell of the Iranian-aligned group was part of a wider network of Hezbollah operatives who laid the groundwork for future attacks and subsequently-foiled Hezbollah plots in the United States, Thailand, and Cyprus.
In March 2013, a court in Cyprus found a man guilty of participating in a plot to attack Israeli tourists in the country, part of a conspiracy similar to the deadly bombing in Bulgaria a year earlier. The EU brought sanctions against Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and two Iranian agents in November, after two well-publicized attempted terror attacks against dissidents in Paris and Denmark last year.
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