Europe

Cyprus Verdict In; Hezbollah Member Guilty of Terror Charges

A Cyprus court has found a confessed Hezbollah member guilty of five terror-related charges, including participation in a criminal organization, acceptance and participation in committing a crime, and money laundering.

The conviction of Hossam Taleb Yaacoub marks the second time in two months in which Hezbollah has been formally linked to terror plots on European Union soil. In February Bulgarian officials announced that their investigators had discovered links between the Iran-backed group and the July 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian.

The Cypriot verdict will increase pressure on the E.U. to heed U.S. calls to formally designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Several E.U. nations have been resisting efforts to blacklist the group. France in particular is thought to be driven by fears that Hezbollah will target its interests abroad. Nonetheless, forthcoming additional evidence that Hezbollah committed terrorism on E.U. soil in Bulgaria, coupled with the announcement that it sought to commit additional terrorism on E.U. soil in Cyprus, will make it increasingly difficult for the E.U. to avoid acknowledging that the organization is a terror group.

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