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Jerusalem — The Netherlands considers Hezbollah a terrorist group and said in August that the EU should also do so, which would mean Brussels could act to freeze Hezbollah assets in Europe.
Britain reserves the designation for Hezbollah’s armed wing but other EU member states, which have blacklisted the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, have resisted U.S. and Israeli pressure to do the same to Hezbollah.
The United States urged Europe and others on Tuesday to work on uncovering the Hezbollah’s infrastructure and disrupt its financing schemes and networks to prevent future attacks. Hezbollah poses a growing threat to Europe and the rest of the world, a senior U.S. official said.
A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said there was a need to reflect on the outcome of the investigation and the bloc and its member states would discuss an appropriate response based on the investigation.
Bulgaria, a member of NATO as well as the EU, had previously said that the bombing was plotted elsewhere and carried out by foreigners. Even so, that attack stoked tension in a country where Muslims make up some 15 percent of the 7.3 million population.
All three people involved in the attack had fake U.S. driving licences that were printed in Lebanon, Tsvetanov said. The two suspects with Canadian and Australian passports had been living in Lebanon, one since 2006 and the other since 2010.
No one has been arrested in connection with the attack and Tsvetanov said he hoped Australia, Canada and Lebanon would cooperate with the continuing investigation.
A senior Israeli official said there had been some doubt in Israel over whether Bulgaria’s report might be changed at the last minute because of political pressure, and was hopeful the EU would now blacklist Hezbollah.
“The key is getting France on board. That’s where the centre of gravity is on this matter,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in September that an EU blacklisting of Hezbollah was justified only if there was a legal case to pin this on. His remark also appeared to reflect concern that such a move could destabilise Lebanon.