(New York, N.Y.) – Last week’s deadly explosion in Beirut intensified scrutiny of Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon’s state security, the armed forces, financial resources, and political landscape. Since the explosion, several port officials have been placed under house arrest after investigators suggested negligence was involved in the storage of explosive fertilizer chemical ammonium nitrate.
While the investigation is ongoing, Hezbollah’s “unofficial” control over activities in the Port of Beirut has made the Iranian-sponsored terror group culpable, as they are known to use the port for illegal drug smuggling operations and other criminal activities. According to Lebanese intelligence sources, Hezbollah-controlled buildings in the port housed weapons and fireworks, and the explosions were reportedly sparked by a fire at one of the Hezbollah warehouses.
Hezbollah has also reportedly been caught storing ammonium nitrate in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and Germany. The terror organization also reportedly sought to use Lebanon’s agricultural ministry to import ammonium nitrate from Syria.
Following anti-government protests in Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab dissolved the government on August 10 after attributing the explosion to widespread corruption. The explosion has inflamed calls for overhauling Lebanon’s corrupt political system, as Lebanese security officials reportedly warned Lebanon’s leadership in July of security risks associated with storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate at a port in the capital city.
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To read CEP’s Lebanon resource, please click here.