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Iran establishing networks among U.S. allies in Europe via Hizbullah
GERTZ - LONDON -- A specialist on insurgencies urged the European Union to declare Hizbullah a terrorist group.
"Hizbullah, in the last years, has been focusing on fund-raising in Europe," Alexander Ritzmann, senior fellow at the Brussels-based European Foundation for Democracy, said. "But it has the capability and the general motivation to strike. The problem is that it's their decision."
Ritzmann said EU security agencies have failed to restrict Hizbullah activities in Europe.
He warned that Iran could use Hizbullah for a strike of sensitive facilities on the continent.
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He warned EU representatives and parliamentarians that Hizbullah was expanding its presence in Western Europe. Organizers of a new campaign on the issue said Hizbullah was raising millions of dollars in EU states and establishing front groups for the acquisition of weapons and technology.
"The German and European security agencies are not in control of this network," Ritzmann told the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty network.
"If Iran wants to make a statement using Hizbullah, as they've done in the past many times, they will do it and we will have to face the consequences. And I'm saying we cannot sit here, knowing what's going on, and hope they don't do anything. We have to do whatever's possible within the legal framework we have."
Regarded as an expert on Hizbullah and other Muslim insurgency groups, Ritzmann said Hizbullah assassinated Iran opposition members in Germany in the 1990s. He said Hizbullah was also used for the bombing of Israeli and Jewish installations in Argentina in the 1990s.