Hezbollah’s actions in Bulgaria, Syria compels France to blacklist group: source

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Lebanon’s Shiite group, Hezbollah, fighting alongside the Syrian regime and along with its involvement in the Burgas bus bombing in Bulgaria are compelling France to put it on its blacklist, a French official told the London-Based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat in a report published Friday.

“The crimes that happened on European land in Bulgaria,” and Hezbollah’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces will push France to label the group as terrorists, the source, who wished to remain unidentified, told the newspaper.

The European Union has been under pressure from the United States and Israel to blacklist Hezbollah, especially after Bulgaria said Hezbollah was behind the bus bombing, in which five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian national were killed.

Meanwhile, a Cyprus court sentenced a self-confessed member of Hezbollah on Thursday to four years in jail after he was convicted of involvement in the Burgas bombing.

The official Cyprus News Agency said the criminal court in the south coast city of Limassol sentenced Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a dual Lebanese and Swedish citizen, to four years minus time already served in prison since last July.

He was found guilty on March 22 on five counts -- including participating in a criminal organization, taking part in a criminal act and money laundering.

Yaacoub, 24, told the court last month that he had collected information on Israeli tourists visiting the island, but denied plotting to attack them.

He said he had been asked to log information on Israeli flight arrivals and note down the number plates of buses carrying tourists from the Jewish state.

Yaacoub said he was unaware what the information was for and was arrested in July last year before he could communicate the information to a handler, whom he did not know, in Lebanon.