The European Union may not designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, even if it turns out that the Iran-backed Lebanese group committed a terrorist attack against EU nationals on EU soil, according to the EU’s top counter-terrorism official. Gilles de Kerchove was quoted Monday on the news site EUobserver making the statement, which comes as Bulgarian officials prepare to release their findings regarding the July 2012 terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, which has been widely linked to Hezbollah. Some European countries, notably France and Germany, have long resisted U.S. calls to designate and thus ban the self-described Party of God. Analysts had broadly concluded that Paris and Berlin would have to acknowledge that Hezbollah is a terror group if Sofia presented evidence that Hezbollah had committed a mass terror attack on Bulgarian soil, but such analysis may have underestimated French and German recalcitrance. Paris is known to fear Hezbollah actions against French peacekeepers in Lebanon, while Berlin may be concerned about activities by the 950 known Hezbollah members and supporters operating on German soil. The Burgas bombing claimed the lives of a Bulgarian and five Israeli tourists.
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