Comment: Israeli media still hasn't let go of insinuating that 'Hezbollah did it' (i.e. is responsible, in one way or another, for blowing up half of Beirut last week). Wethinks the lady doth protesteth too much...
The report was broadcast hours after Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech "categorically" denying that his group had stored any weapons or explosives at Beirut's port, following the massive explosion there Tuesday that has claimed over 157 lives and wounded thousands. He said:
"I would like to absolutely, categorically rule out anything belonging to us at the port. No weapons, no missiles, or bombs or rifles or even a bullet or ammonium nitrate. No cache, no nothing. Not now, not ever."
Israel has not formally alleged that Hezbollah was connected to the Tuesday blast.
Comment: ...but it keeps hinting at exactly that...
Ammonium nitrate is used in the manufacture of explosives and is also an ingredient in making fertilizer. It has been blamed for massive industrial accidents in the past, and was also a main ingredient in a bomb that destroyed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Last year,reports in Israel claimedthat the Mossad had tipped off European intelligence agencies about Hezbollah storing caches of ammonium nitrate for use in bombs in London, Cyprus and elsewhere.
Comment:Interesting. Why would the Mossad do that, given that there's zero history of Hezbollah being involved in Europe, while its activities in the Middle East are almost universally understood to be anti-terrorist in nature...
It detailed Hezbollah's previous connections to ammonium nitrate, including incidents in Germany and the UK, both widely reported at the time, in which its agents were reportedly found with substantial quantities of the material. In London in 2015, following a Mossad tip-off, British intelligence found four Hezbollah operatives with 3 tons of ammonium nitrate held in flour sacks, the TV report said, citing foreign reports. A similar process led to the discovery in Germany of Hezbollah operatives with enough ammonium nitrate "to blow up a city," the report said.
Comment:These is typical 'circular reporting': you follow sources who cite other sources until you find that the story has no real source and was thus most likely planted in the media by a certain intelligence agency. They did the same regarding Iranian plans to 'assassinate European leaders' a few years ago.
Germany subsequently banned Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The TV report said:
"That's what Nasrallah intended to do in Europe," the TV report said. "Regarding what was stored in Beirut port, the assessment is Nasrallah intended to use it in the Third Lebanon War." (Israel has fought two wars with Lebanon - in 1982, and, following a cross-border raid by Hezbollah in which Israeli soldiers were killed and abducted, in 2006.)
And it also cited aspeechby Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the UN General Assembly in 2018, in which Netanyahu accused Hezbollah of storing missiles and other weapons in civilian areas. The prime minister alleged that one such site was "on the water's edge" in Beirut.
Preliminary evidence released by Lebanese officials indicates that the explosion was connected to 2,750 metric tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate which was left unsupervised in the port for almost six years. Documents allege that customs officials asked to move the vast trove numerous times but never received a reply.
So far 157 people have been confirmed dead and over 5,000 wounded. Around 300,000 Beirut residents were rendered homeless as the blast tore apart homes miles from the port.
Israel firmly denied initial speculation that it had anything to do with the explosion, has sent condolences, and offered medical aid. Senior Hezbollah officials speaking on condition of anonymity to Lebanese media have been equally insistent that neither Hezbollah nor Israel were involved.
Comment: IF this was an Israeli operation, then you really have to hand it to them; they have quite possibly won the 'Third Lebanon War' in one (vicious) strike.
But, maybe that's ascribing too much cunning to them. Maybe they're just cleverly taking advantage of a scenario ('kick Hezbollah while they're down') they wish to overlay on an otherwise tragic accident.