Optimism that EU will label Hizbollah ‘terrorists’

The US and Israel-led campaign to have Hizbollah labelled a terrorist organisation by the EU and secure a Europe-wide ban on the group has taken a step forward.

According to the US co-ordinator for counterterrorism, Daniel Benjamin, speaking in Washington this week: “We’ve been engaging with our partners in Europe and we are cautiously optimistic — at last — about the prospects for an EU designation.”

Hizbollah would be blocked from fundraising, recruiting, training and spreading propaganda in Europe.

The terrorist group, which is supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and committed to the destruction of Israel, is heavily dependent on fundraising in Europe. According to a German intelligence report, the group has more than 900 active supporters in the country.

Mr Benjamin’s statement comes in the wake of a US resolution against the group, drafted by Sen Joe Lieberman — President Barack Obama’s adviser on terrorism — and signed by 50 senators.

“Without international recognition of, and action against, Hizbollah’s terrorism, the group will continue to operate with impunity and it will be able to raise funds,” Mr Lieberman said in October.

The resolution refers to Hizbollah’s role in attacks on Israelis.

Last updated: 6:45pm, December 20 2012