Designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group, Congress members urge EU

(JTA) — More than 100 members of the U.S. Congress sent a letter to the European Union’s foreign policy chief urging her to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

The bipartisan letter was sent Monday to Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union. It follows a recent report by Bulgarian investigators concluding that Hezbollah had planned, financed and executed the 2012 Burgas bombing, which killed five Israelis and a Bulgarian. 

"The Bulgarian report demonstrates clear evidence that Hezbollah was responsible for the Burgas bombing," states the letter, which was initiated by Reps. Henry Waxman (D.-Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.). "We applaud the Bulgarian authorities for their comprehensive report, and we welcome your subsequent statement seeking to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack be held accountable.

"There is now clear imperative for action. Hezbollah’s actions in Europe must be met with a response to prevent further attacks in Europe and around the world. Placing Hezbollah on the terrorist list would be the next logical step, in light of the terrorist attack on European soil."

Bulgarian authorities presented their investigation’s findings to the EU on Monday, and Ashton said following the meeting that the matter should be studied further, according to reports. 

The members of Congress on Monday also sent a letter of solidarity to Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

“Calling Hezbollah what it is — a terrorist organization — is long overdue, but it’s better late than never,” Waxman said in a statement. “This designation could help cripple Hezbollah’s operations in Europe and around the world, making it more difficult for them to sow instability and target innocent people. 

"With these letters, we hope to send a message of unity with Europe as they consider their next step.”

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