Israel praises Slovenia for declaring Hezbollah a terror group

European country joins growing list of those recognizing Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi on Monday praised Slovenia for joining the growing list of nations that have recognized Hezbollah in Lebanon as a terrorist organization.

“I welcome the decision of the Government of Slovenia to recognize all branches of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” Ashkenazi said in Foreign Ministry statement. “This decision joins similar decisions made in recent months by governments in Europe and Latin America.”

“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that first and foremost harms the citizens of Lebanon itself and holds them hostage in the service of Iranian interests,” Ashkenazi said.

The Foreign Ministry noted that the government of Slovenia determined that Hezbollah is a “terrorist organization that displays the characteristics of an organized crime organization, that poses a risk to peace and security and conducts terrorist activities on a global scale.”

Slovenia joins the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Serbia, Estonia and Switzerland, which all made similar decisions about Hezbollah in the past few months.

In 2013, European Union foreign ministers included only the military wing of the movement on the European list of terrorist organizations.

Ashkenazi called on additional countries as well as the European Union to increase the pressure on Hezbollah by outlawing its activities and to recognize the organization and all its branches as terrorist.

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The Slovenian news website 24 Hours expressed concern that the decision could increase the danger for Slovenian soldiers serving with the UN peace keeping mission in Lebanon, pointing out that the Slovenian troops already have experience with Hezbollah militia attacks.

Members of Hezbollah attacked a mixed Italian-Slovenian patrol that included eight Slovenian soldiers on a reconnaissance mission in southern Lebanon in 2018, 24 Hours reported. The UN vehicles were attacked by armed locals, and while the Italian soldiers immediately handed over several rifles and pistols, the Slovenian troops decided to escape to a nearby UN base, where they were attacked again.

The incident ended with one humvee set on fire; the three soldiers who fled the vehicle were beaten. The crew of the second humvee then intervened with warning shots, prompting the attackers to flee, 24 Hours reported, adding that it was was not the only attack on Slovenian soldiers in Lebanon.

Last week, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, demanded that the UN Security Council take immediate action against the military buildup and ongoing activities of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.