Czech Republic becomes latest EU state to designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation

Eastern European state is sixth member of bloc to place sanctions on Iran-backed party

Hezbollah was designated by the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Reuters
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The Czech Republic on Wednesday became the latest EU member to classify the whole of the Lebanese party Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

The Czech Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Parliament in Prague, voted 63-7 to adopt the new motion calling for the designation of the Lebanese group.

The resolution said Hezbollah, which has political and military branches, was “an indivisible whole and terrorist organisation that significantly destabilises the Middle East region and, through its global network, also threatens all democracies”.

The EU recognises Iran-backed Hezbollah’s military group as a terrorist organisation but not its political faction.

But the Czech Parliament's resolution “rejects the misleading division of this organisation into military and political parts, as this organisation acts as an internally interlinked structure".

Members of the European Parliament, national parliaments and the US Congress and Senate have all urged the EU to stop distinguishing between the two factions.

Although the Czech Republic does not have its own list of terrorist organisations, the legislature called on politicians to establish one and put Hezbollah on it.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi praised the move made by its longtime ally and urged other EU nations to follow.

The Czech Republic joins Argentina, Estonia, the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia and other countries in recognising all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

Estonia imposed sanctions on the group last Thursday, becoming the fifth EU member state to designate it this year.

The measures mean Hezbollah affiliates believed to support terrorism are prohibited from entering the Baltic state.

This month, the US government announced a $10 million reward for information about a Hezbollah financing network.

It coincided with 37th anniversary of a bomb attack on a US marine barracks in Beirut.

The US is seeking information on the activities, networks and associates of Hezbollah, which form a part of its financial support.

It specified three key financiers – Muhammad Qasir, Muhammad Qasim Al Bazzal and Ali Qasir.