New IRA and Hezbollah: the alliance that worries the UK

The New IRA, the largest dissident Irish republican group, is thought to have forged alliances with Hezbollah and radical organisations in the Middle East, who may be providing it with weapons and finances.

The assessment is based on evidence gathered by Denis McFadden, an MI5 agent who spied on dissidents for more than 20 years until his exposure last month, The Times reports.

The Lebanese militia is accused of investing in its network across the continent in a variety of ways on behalf of Iran. In particular it is investing in its terrorist network in Europe by establishing arms caches in several countries and building links with terrorist and criminal organisations on the continent. The most recent proof of this has emerged after members of an Irish dissident group were arrested on terrorism charges last month following claims they met with Hezbollah officials at Iran’s embassy in Dublin.

As The National reported this month, Irish and British security officials believe that former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) sought to revive long-standing contacts with Hezbollah in an attempt to obtain finance and weapons for the New IRA (NIRA), a fanatical offshoot of the Irish republican movement that is bitterly opposed to the Good Friday Agreement between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Militant group Hezbollah has also been accused to have stored chemicals that can be used to make explosives in several European countries, a senior State Department official said Thursday quoted by AP as he appealed to countries in Europe and elsewhere to impose bans on the organization.

Hezbollah operatives have moved ammonium nitrate from Belgium to France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland in recent years and are suspected to still be storing the material throughout Europe, said Nathan Sales, the State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism.