Backbench debate on Hezbollah terror designation in the UK parliament, Jan. 25, 2018. (screengrab)
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Members of the British Parliament concluded a cross-party parliamentary debate this week aimed at ramping up pressure on the government to extend a ban on Hezbollah. The U.K. classifies the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist group, but does not take a similar stand against the political wing of the organization. MPs who spoke in favor of a comprehensive ban in Thursday's debate – secured by the Labour Friends of Israel parliamentary group and Labour MP Joan Ryan – described the distinction between the group's two branches as "completely elusory" and called for the government to take strong action. Calls for the U.K. to classify the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization intensified following demands on the part of British MPs and U.S. President Donald Trump.Banning the Hezbollah group in its entirety would allow the prohibition of Hezbollah flags at public celebrations, the MPs argued.The U.K. government has long maintained that Hezbollah's military wing is involved in terrorist activities, and in March 2001 it added that wing to the list of proscribed organizations under the Terrorism Act 2000 .
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