Iran has been accused of providing support to an alleged Hezbollah operative in Cyprus who was planning to carry out a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish sites in Europe, according to news reports.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides confirmed that authorities in his country likely foiled a plan involving a 26-year-old Lebanese-Canadian man who was planning to build bombs to target Israelis and Jews, reports Reuters.
The man was likely working for the Iran proxy Hezbollah, a terrorist group based in Lebanon, according to the foreign minister.
“Earlier this month, Israel said Cyprus had told it that the fertilizer was to be used for bombs by Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia hostile to Israel, and that Israelis or Jews on Cyprus may have been intended targets,” notes Reuters.
When Reuters asked him about the conversation between Cyprus and Israel, Kasoulides responded, “Your information you mentioned is correct.”
He added that it is likely that Hezbollah was behind the attack.
The Lebanese-Canadian man was arrested in late May after Cypriot police found nearly two tons of bomb-making materials in his basement, including ammonium nitrate, according to Haaretz.
Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer commonly used by terrorists to make powerful explosives.
Cypriot authorities reportedly informed Israel that the man had been taken into custody and that he is believed to be an agent of Hezbollah.
“The 26-year-old man, Lebanese-born but with a Canadian passport, was detained by police in the EU [European Union] member state on May 27, after authorities discovered the hoard in the basement of a house,” reports Haaretz.
Authorities were reportedly “investigating any possible link” between the individual and Hezbollah, which considers Israel an enemy.
The individual has been linked to Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s chief, according to Haaretz.
Citing information provided to the Israel’s defense establishment, Haaretz reports that the Hezbollah operative was planning to use Cyprus as a “point of export” for a series of terrorist attacks targeting Jewish sites, including synagogues, in Europe.
Although Hezbollah is “the contractor behind the terrorist plan,” Iran is the entity who is providing “funding and training,” reportedly said an Israeli defense establishment source.
“This is a terror infrastructure ready to strike the moment it is given a chance… This is additional proof of Iran’s involvement in terror and the infrastructure of operatives, instructors and funders it provides,” added the source.
An unnamed senior Israeli official told Reuters “that the ammonium nitrate was apparently intended to make a large store of bombs that would be kept ‘on hand’ for future attacks.”
“It does not look like there was an immediate terrorist action planned in connection with this haul,” added the official.