US official expects European Union will designate Hezbollah as terror group soon

According to a report by the ‘Jerusalem Post’, the US State Department expects the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, following an intensive US lobbying campaign and suspected Hezbollah plots on European soil. Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, was quoted by the newspaper as expression “cautious optimism” about such a move by the 27-nation EU bloc.

The US and Israel have long pressed the EU to include the Lebanese group on its terror list, and recently US officials have publicly been making the case that that designation would help with enforcement efforts against the organization and its criminal activities. Benjamin told the newspaper that the US had also been sharing information with European counterparts on Hezbollah’s increased activities in their region.

The radical Lebanese Shiite group, which is backed by Iran, has been accused of being behind a bombing that killed Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in July and a disrupted plot against Israelis in Cyprus less than two weeks earlier. Earlier this month, the Bulgarian government announced it had made major advances in its investigation of the bombing and would likely be presenting findings at an EU meeting in January.

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