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Britain to ban Hezbollah under anti-terror laws

February 26, 2019

LONDON: Britain on Monday said it will ban the political wing of Hezbollah, making membership of the movement or inviting support for it a crime. The decision follows outrage over the display of the Hezbollah flag, which features a Kalashnikov assault rifle, at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London. "Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East," Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement.

"We are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety," he said. The ban is subject to a vote in parliament this week.

Hezbollah is a Shiite militant movement established in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war. Its capture of two Israeli soldiers in 2006 sparked a 34-day war in which 1,200 people were killed.

The movement, now a major political party in Lebanon, holds three cabinet posts. "It is clear the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings does not exist," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in Monday’s statement.