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Lithuania bans Hezbollah affiliates

August 13, 2020

Israel has welcomed Lithuania's ban on people affiliated with Hezbollah. Lithuania says the move was in solidarity with the US, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, who view Hezbollah in its entirety as a terror group.

Hezbollah fighters parade in south Lebanon, 2017
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Zaatari

Lithuania on Thursday barred affiliates of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement from entering the country for the next ten years.

"Having taken into consideration the information acquired by our institutions and partners, we may conclude that 'Hezbollah' uses terrorist means that pose threat to the security of a significant number of countries, including Lithuania," said Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.

Lithuania stated it stands united with US, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands — all of which have taken a similar stance.

Hezbollah, founded in Lebanon in 1982, has been blamed for numerous attacks on Israel and has ties to Iran.

Most other EU states distinguish between the group's military and political wings, only classifying the former as a terrorist entity.

Lithuania officials decided on the ban after analyzing information about the listed people and the threat they posed to Lithuania's security.

Closer ties with Israel

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed Lithuania's decision, tweeting: "I call on all European countries to join the decision and outlaw the terrorist organization."

In the statement, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius praised Israel for "the successful cooperation between the Lithuanian and Israeli national security agencies."

Meanwhile, Lithuanian's Linkevicius sent his support to people in Lebanon looking to implement political reforms.

Hezbollah between Lebanon, Israel and Iran

The Shiite Islamist political, military and social organization wields considerable power in Lebanon.

Hezbollah backed the government of Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab that resigned on Monday amid protests over a deadly explosion at the Beirut port.

The group came to prominence with the support of Israel's arch-foe Iran during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s. The militants continue to be regularly involved in clashes with the Israeli Defense Forces over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Kate Martyr
Kate Martyr Editor and video producer at DW's Asia Desk and News Digital