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The European Union moved Tuesday closer to adding the military wing of Lebanon's Hezbollah to its list of international terrorist groups, EU diplomats told AFP.
The group is already on the blacklist in several countries, including EU members Britain and the Netherlands:
- ISRAEL: In June, 1989, the Israeli government decrees that Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation.
A fierce opponent of Israel, Hezbollah, "The Party of God," formed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, seeks the "liberation" of all occupied Arab lands, including Jerusalem.
It headed the guerrilla war that was instrumental in forcing Israel's May 2000 troop pullout from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation. It has staged many deadly guerrilla attacks, including suicide bombings.
- THE UNITED STATES: Hezbollah has been on a US terror blacklist since October 1997 after a series of anti-American attacks, including the bombing of the US embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the 1980s.
"As of today it is a crime to provide funds, weapons or other types of tangible support to any of the designated organisations," US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said when announcing the list.
- CANADA: In December 2002 the Canadian government announces it is adding the whole of Hezbollah to its terrorism blacklist. Up to then only the armed wing had been concerned. Membership in or support of Hezbollah could lead to up to 10 years' imprisonment.
- AUSTRALIA: Lists Hezbollah's branch charged with "external security" as a terrorist group in 2003.
- BRITAIN: In July 2008 Britain moves to ban the entire military wing of Hezbollah.
The interior ministry says it took the action because Hezbollah's military branch is supporting militants in Iraq and Palestinian terror groups.
London had already in 2001 banned the External Security Organisation, which it considers the fundamentalist group's "terrorist wing".
- THE NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands has had both the political and armed wing of Hezbollah on its terrorism blacklist since 2004 and has been pressing since then for it to be placed on the EU's list of terrorist organisations in a bid to dry up its financing from Europe.