Hizbullah's Deputy Chief Warns EU Against Blacklist
The deputy chief of the Hizbullah organization warned the European Union on Friday that it would be making a "big mistake" if it labeled the Lebanese Shiite group as a terrorist organization.
Sheikh Naim Qassem told the Al Mayadeen television network that such threats "do not concern" or worry the group. He did not elaborate.
The EU has so far been reluctant to add Hizbullah to its list of terrorist organizations, but Britain this week filed a formal request to blacklist what is called the “military wing” of the Lebanon-based group.
The request will be discussed at closed-door talks June 4 of a committee overseeing the EU list of people and groups subject to its asset freezing regime.
France, which has been reluctant until now to declare Hizbullah a terror group, joined the EU initiative this week after Germany also declared its support for Britain’s request.
The calls on the EU to add Hizbullah to its list of terrorist organizations grew after Bulgaria announced that the group was behind the July 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas which killed five Israelis.
Shortly after the Burgas bombing, the EU decided not to list Hizbullah as a terrorist group.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Gujarat Cossack-Marcolis said at the time that "there is no consensus on the issue, because Hizbullah also has an active political arm."
During a visit to Brussels in March, Israeli President Shimon Peres urged the EU to put Hizbullah on the terrorist list, saying it was behind a score of attempted attacks in Europe and arguing that its intervention in Syria against rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was enabling the group to spread its reach.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has also called on the EU to follow Washington's lead in a move that will notably lead to a crackdown on the group's fund-raising activities.
Currently, Britain and the Netherlands are the only EU nations to have placed Hizbullah on their lists of terrorist groups.
Hizbullah has been on a U.S. terror blacklist since 1995 after a series of anti-American attacks, including the bombing of the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the 1980s.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)