Hezbollah in southern Lebanon
Hezbollah in southern LebanoniStock

Britain's finance ministry on Friday announced it had added the entire Hezbollah organization to its list of terrorist groups subject to asset freezing, AFP reports.

The ministry previously only targeted the Lebanese Shiite organization's military wing but has now listed the whole group after the government designated it a terrorist organization last March.

The change requires any individual or institution in Britain with accounts or financial services connected to Hezbollah to suspend them or face prosecution.

The group had "publicly denied a distinction between its military and political wings," the Treasury said in a notice posted on its website and quoted by AFP.

"The group in its entirety is assessed to be concerned in terrorism and was proscribed as a terrorist organization in the UK in March 2019," it added.

"This listing includes the Military Wing, the Jihad Council and all units reporting to it, including the External Security Organization."

A finance ministry spokesman said the change followed its annual review of the asset freezing register, and brought it into line with the 2019 decision by the interior minister to blacklist all of Hezbollah.

"The UK remains committed to the stability of Lebanon and the region, and we continue to work closely with our Lebanese partners," the spokesman added.

In 2013, the European Union blacklisted Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm. Several EU members, however, blacklist the entire group as a terrorist organization.

The British move to designate the entire group followed warnings by MPs that the UK had drawn a false distinction by proscribing Hezbollah’s military wing but not its political side.

This loophole in British law had allowed participants in the annual Al-Quds Day to march through central London to wave the Hezbollah flag, featuring an assault rifle.

The German Parliament recently approved a non-binding resolution calling on the German government to “decree an activity ban against Hezbollah in order not to tolerate any activity in Germany by representatives of the organization, which opposes the principle of international understanding.”

Germany’s Minister of State Niels Annen said in August that his country will not follow Britain’s lead and ban Hezbollah’s political arm, arguing that the Shiite Muslim organization remained a relevant factor in Lebanese society.

(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.)