By Angelos Anastasiou
THE 26-year-old Lebanese national who was arrested and remanded for six days on Thursday appears to have had close ties with Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, local press reported yesterday.
Daily Phileleftheros, citing Cypriot intelligence sources, reported that the man, who also holds a Canadian passport, was a member of Hezbollah’s military wing and received training in Iran by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
According to the paper, this information was received by the Secret Service KYP and led police to the house in which the 26-year-old was staying following his arrival to Cyprus last week.
On Wednesday afternoon, police entered the house on the strength of a search warrant and found that two tonnes of ammonium nitrate – a fertiliser that can become a powerful explosive when mixed with other substances – had been stored in the basement.
When questioned about the stash, the 26-year-old denied any involvement, and said he did not know why the owner of the house had placed it there.
Police have been searching for the house’s owner for questioning. The paper cited sources claiming he was also Lebanese and has not been seen at the house for months.
Daily Politis reported a similar story. It cited sources saying that the man had close ties to Hezbollah, and police suspect a terrorist plot against Israeli interests in Cyprus had been planned.
On Thursday, the man appeared before court in a closed-door hearing, and was remanded for eight days.
While the evidence presented by police in court is not known, the 26-year-old is being investigated for conspiracy to commit a crime and the illegal possession of explosives.
The paper said that in investigating the case Cypriot police is in contact and cooperation with foreign secret services.
In July 2012, a 24-year-old Lebanese man, who also held a Swedish passport, was detained by Cyprus police on possible charges relating to a planned attack against Israeli tourists.
According to security officials, the man admitted being a member of Hezbollah after questioning, and that he was planning attacks for the group.
At the time, Cypriot police were alerted about the man due to an urgent message from Israeli intelligence.