E.U. official: Hezbollah might not make terror list

(JTA) — Hezbollah might not get onto the Union’s blacklist even if it did bomb Jewish tourists in Bulgaria last year, the European Union’s top counter-terrorism official reportedly has said. 

On January 28, the news site EUobserver quotes the official, Gilles de Kerchove, as saying that Bulgaria’s investigation into the incident is likely to be concluded next month.

According to Israel, Hezbollah was behind the bombing on July 19 in Burgas, which targeted a bus of Israeli tourists and left five Israelis and one Bulgarian dead.

United States and Israeli officials have said the E.U. should list the Lebanese militant group if the Bulgarians find it guilty of perpetrating the attack, in a move which would make it illegal for Hezbollah sympathizers in Europe to send it money.

“There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context and the timing,” de Kerchove is quoted as saying.

He noted there is “no consensus” among E.U. states on whether listing Hezbollah would be useful or not.

The London-based Arabic newspaper Al Hayat last week cited a “European source” as saying that he predicted the investigation will point to Hezbollah. The Bulgarian interior ministry denies the report, however.

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