I want to make some progress; I will give way in a moment.
The proscription order before the House today is the 23rd under the Terrorism Act 2000. If agreed by the House and the other place, it will ban three groups that I deem a threat to this country. First, there is Hezbollah, also known as “the party of God”. The order extends the proscription of Hezbollah’s military wing to cover the group in its entirety. There have long been calls to ban the whole group, with the distinction between the two factions derided as smoke and mirrors. Hezbollah itself has laughed off the suggestion that there is a difference. I have carefully considered the evidence and I am satisfied that they are one and the same, with the entire organisation being linked to terrorism.
As I am sure hon. Members are aware, Hezbollah is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel. It has the largest non-state military force in Lebanon. As the House will appreciate, I cannot go into the details of current intelligence, but I can say that Hezbollah has been reported in many open sources as being linked to or claiming responsibility for many atrocities. These include a suicide bomb attack on a Buenos Aires Jewish community centre in 1994 that left 85 people dead and hundreds injured. The bloodshed came just two years after an attack on the Israeli embassy in that same city, which killed 29 people. Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war since 2012 continues to prolong the conflict and the brutal repression of the Syrian people. In 2016, it helped besiege Aleppo, stopping humanitarian aid reaching parts of the city for six months, putting thousands at risk of mass starvation. Its actions continue to destabilise the fragile middle east.