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EU adds Hezbollah group to terror list

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By The Associated Press
Monday, July 22, 2013, 6:24 p.m.

BRUSSELS — The European Union placed the military wing of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group and political party, on its terror list on Monday in a major policy change toward the Middle East.

The EU's 28 foreign ministers reached the decision unanimously at their monthly meeting, swiftly swaying the last nations that had expressed opposition by committing to continued political dialogue with Beirut.

The United States, the Netherlands and Israel have long considered Hezbollah a terrorist organization and pressed the EU to take the action.

‘‘The EU is sending a strong message to Hezbollah that it cannot operate with impunity, and that there are consequences for its actions,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

Britain had pushed for the EU action, citing a terrorist attack in Bulgaria's Black Sea resort of Burgas last year that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian. Hezbollah's military wing was accused of involvement, an allegation it denied.

In March, a criminal court in Cyprus found a Hezbollah member guilty of helping to plan attacks on Israelis on the Mediterranean island.

Bulgaria and Cyprus are EU members.

The blacklisting entails asset freezes and paves the way for possible travel bans on members of Hezbollah's military wing. The ministers hope it will curtail fundraising.

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