I also welcome the Home Secretary’s comments today and the action to recognise Hezbollah for what it is. That sends a strong message to the world and those who wish to do us harm that the UK Government abhor terrorism in any form.
As we all know, Hezbollah is a well funded, powerful organisation that has a history of targeting British interests, including well documented links to attacks on British forces in Iraq. It killed 85 people in Argentina and five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. A Hezbollah operative with a forged British passport in Cyprus had eight tonnes of fertiliser, to be used to make bombs against Jewish and Israeli targets. According to the CIA, Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah has a history of being
“directly involved in many Hezbollah terrorist operations, including hostage taking, airline hijackings, and attacks against Lebanese rivals”.
As well as being involved in international terrorism, Hezbollah plays a central role in the global drugs trade. There has been a wave of recent arrests in Europe of suspects linked to Hezbollah. Does the Home Secretary share my concern about the criminal activities in which Hezbollah operatives regularly engage, including drug dealing and money laundering? Will he confirm that proscription will restrict Hezbollah’s ability to undertake such criminal activities in the UK? Is there a force directly tasked with addressing the issue?
Hezbollah has lost some 2,000 fighters in Syria. It has an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and 45,000 fighters, and it has said that its rockets can hit any part of Israel—even Tel Aviv. Does the Home Secretary agree that Hezbollah is one of the most destabilising forces in the region? Yesterday he stated that Hezbollah was continuing its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the middle east. We are no longer able to distinguish between its already banned military wing and its political party.
I thank the Home Secretary for making this decision. I think everyone in the House and the other place will support this motion, to make our people and our country safer. These are the sort of people who need to be put off the streets permanently.