UK extends Hezbollah asset freeze to include political wing
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UK extends Hezbollah asset freeze to include political wing

The Treasury said it was now designating the political wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist group after ban last year

The striking Hezbollah flag during the Al-Quds rally in London, 2016 (Photo credit: Steve Winston)
The striking Hezbollah flag during the Al-Quds rally in London, 2016 (Photo credit: Steve Winston)

The entirety of Hezbollah will be subject to asset freezing in the UK, the Government announced on Friday.

The Treasury said it was now designating the political wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist group under its Terrorism and Terrorist Financing rules, in addition to its military wing.

The move comes after the Government proscribed Hezbollah in its entirety last year. Chancellor Sajid Javid, then home secretary, said the UK could no longer distinguish between the organisation’s banned military wing and political party.

“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party,” he said.

Jewish leaders welcomed the move, with the Board of Deputies’ senior vice president Sheila Gewolb hailing it as an “important step.”

“Hezbollah’s genocidal intentions are clear. Keeping their flags off our streets and their financial assets frozen is vital in making the world a safer place,” she said.

Meanwhile, James Sorene, the chief executive of the UK-Israel think tank BICOM said the UK should be “applauded for taking tough action to confront Hezbollah in its entirety.”

“HM Treasury’s move to freeze Hezbollah’s assets is a vital step to cut it off from UK financial services, reduce its financial resources and limit the group’s global terrorist activities and involvement in organised crime,” he added.

A Treasury spokesperson said the move brings the designation in line with last year’s proscription of the organisation.

“The UK remains committed to the stability of Lebanon and the region, and we continue to work closely with our Lebanese partners,” the spokesperson said.

Jennifer Gerber, Director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “We strongly welcome this long overdue move by the government. It is imperative that it now acts on the other three recommendations LFI made to Sajid Javid last June: tough action on front organisations which assist Hezbollah in the UK; UK citizens or dual UK citizens with ties to Hezbollah; and domestic Hezbollah operatives.”

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