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Peres urges EU to put Hezbollah on terror list

21 February 2013, 20:25 CET
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(JERUSALEM) - Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday made a fresh call for the European Union to put Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group on its terror blacklist.

Earlier this month, Bulgaria named Hezbollah as responsible for a July bombing in the seaside report of Burgas which killed five Israeli tourists and their local driver, bringing fresh calls for Hezbollah to be added to the EU blacklist.

"It has been proved that Hezbollah carried out the terror attack in Bulgaria, on European soil, and killed innocent civilians," Peres said in remarks released by his office.

"Today there is further evidence of the activities of the organisation and its Iranian dispatchers around the world, including in Cyprus and Nigeria," he added.

Peres was referring to the trial in Cyprus of a man with joint Lebanese and Swedish nationality who has reportedly admitted belonging to Hezbollah, and who is suspected of planning attacks on Israeli targets.

He was also alluding to Nigeria's announcement late on Wednesday that it had arrested three men who were allegedly spying for Iran and gathering information on potential Israeli and US targets in Lagos.

"It is time that all countries of the world -- especially the European Union -- put Hezbollah on the list of terror organisations," Peres said.

Washington has also asked Brussels to blacklist Hezbollah but the issue is contested among the 27 member states which would have to reach a unanimous decision.

Earlier this week, Israel's Home Front Defence Minister Avi Dichter slammed the EU for prevaricating over the move.

"Asking if Hezbollah is a terror organisation is like asking if Paris belongs to France," he told reporters in the French capital.

Israel and the Shiite militia, which is allied with regimes in Tehran and Damascus, 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 also killed.

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