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EU Blacklists Hezbollah Military Wing

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European Union governments have agreed to put the armed wing of the Lebanese militant movement Hezbollah on the EU terrorism blacklist, a major reversal of policy influenced by the group's activities in Europe.

The EU's 28 foreign ministers reached the decision unanimously at their monthly meeting Monday.

It came after prolonged diplomatic pressure from Britain and the Netherlands to put the Shi'ite Muslim group's military wing on the bloc's terrorism list. The two governments cited evidence that Hezbollah was behind a bus bombing in Bulgaria last year that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian driver.

Until now, the EU had resisted pressure from Washington and Israel to blacklist Hezbollah. It argued such a move could fuel instability in Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed group is part of the government, and add to tensions in the Middle East.

But evidence from Bulgaria about the attack and concerns over Hezbollah's growing involvement in the war in Syria persuaded opponents to back the move, which triggers the freezing of any assets the group's armed wing may hold in the European Union.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni praised the EU decision, saying that after year of deliberations, "the claim that Hezbollah is a legitimate political party has rightfully failed."

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