U.S. National Security Adviser: EU Must Include Hezbollah in Terrorist List

New York Times publishes op-ed by Thomas Donilon - hours before the opening of an EU summit in Brussels - saying 'Europe can no longer ignore the threat that this group poses to the Continent and to the world.'

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Obama's national security adviser called on Europe Monday to swiftly include Hezbollah in the European Union’s terrorist list.

In an op-ed published Monday in the New York Times – just hours before the opening of a summit of EU foreign ministers in Brussels – Thomas Donilon wrote that "Europe can no longer ignore the threat that this group poses to the Continent and to the world."

Donilon added that Hezbollah's involvement in the Burgas attack was discovered due to an operational malfunction – the death of one of the terrorists in the premature explosion of the bomb planted on the bus. "If not for the accidental death of the bomber, there would very likely still be a debate over who conducted this terrible attack," he wrote. "But the Bulgarian investigation has once again proved to the world what Hezbollah has tried for years to hide: that it remains engaged in international terrorist attacks against civilians."

Obama's national security adviser added that even though Hezbollah "has worked assiduously to obscure its terrorist pedigree" and portray itself as a political organization protecting Lebanon, "it is an illusion to speak of Hezbollah as a responsible political actor."

Donilon wrote that European governments "must respond swiftly - they must disrupt [Hezbollah's] operational networks, stop flows of financial assistance to the group, crack down on Hezbollah-linked criminal enterprises and condemn the organization’s leaders for their continued pursuit of terrorism."

In order to make sure that "Burgas is the last successful Hezbollah operation on European soil," he concluded, "Europe must now act collectively and respond resolutely to this attack within its borders by adding Hezbollah to the European Union’s terrorist list."

Also on Monday, Bulgaria told European Union foreign ministers that it sought "collective measures" against Hezbollah over the Burgas bombing.

"We still believe that the attack last year was done by people who are connected to the military wing of Hezbollah - we need to take collective measures to make sure that such activity does not go without consequences in the EU and that this does not happen again," Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov told the 27 foreign ministers gathered in Brussels.

"No matter who is the organizer - we have a collective responsibility. We need to send a strong message to the rest of the world that such attacks are unacceptable no matter where they are planned and who is behind them," he said.

A computer printer in Beirut, DNA traces on a used SIM card and several suspicious telephone calls are just some of the clues that led Bulgarian intelligence agents to conclude that Hezbollah was behind last July’s bombing attack in Burgas, which killed the five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.

Details of Burgas attack revealed during investigation.Credit: Haaretz
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, center, walking from the White House to board Marine One, Friday, May 18, 2012. Credit: AP