Middle East

Israel slams EU delay in putting Hezbollah on terror list

In this Thursday, July 19, 2012 file photo, a damaged bus is transported out of Burgas airport, Bulgaria, a day after a deadly suicide attack on a bus full of Israeli vacationers. Sofia has accused men with links to Hezbollah in the case. (AP Photo)

PARIS: Israel's Home Front Defence Minister Avi Dichter has denounced Europe's hesitation in putting Lebanon's Hezbollah on its terror list, branding debate on the issue as "almost a joke."

"Asking if Hezbollah is a terror organisation is like asking if Paris belongs to France," he told reporters late Tuesday during a visit to France.

"Who is sleeping?" he said. "Are we Israelis sleeping or are countries in Europe sleeping? There's no debate."

The United States had asked the European Union to follow it and put Hezbollah on its terror list but the issue is contested among the 27 member states. A unanimous decision is required.

"To speak about Hassan Nasrallah as someone who is only political is ridiculous," the minister said, referring to the powerful leader of the resistance group.

Israel and Hezbollah, which is allied with the Iranian and Syrian regimes, fought a bloody 34-day war in 2006 that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians. Some 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers, were killed.

Bulgaria has said Hezbollah was responsible for the bombing of an Israeli tourist bus in July last year which claimed six lives.





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