Honduras declares Hezbollah a terrorist organization

A Hezbollah member reacts while Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah talks on a screen during a televised speech at a festival celebrating Resistance and Liberation Day, in Nabatiyeh May 24, 2015. (Reuters)
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Updated 20 January 2020

Honduras declares Hezbollah a terrorist organization

  • Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, called the Honduran government’s move “an important step in the global war on terror”

TEGUCIGALPA: The Honduran government has formally declared Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, a top security official said on Monday.
“We declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization and will include it in the registry of persons and institutions linked to acts of terrorism and its financing,” said Luis Suazo, Honduras’ deputy security minister.
Heavily armed Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group, has also been designated a terrorist organization by the US government.
Last week, Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, also signaled he would label Hezbollah a terrorist group, in addition to keeping the Guatemalan embassy in Israel in the city of Jerusalem.
Both moves were seen as aligning Guatemala’s foreign policy more closely with that of US President Donald Trump.
Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, called the Honduran government’s move “an important step in the global war on terror” and said it built on similar actions taken in recent months by Britain, Argentina and others.
“I applaud the Honduran government for its important decision to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization and to impose sanctions against it,” Katz said.
Israel considers Hezbollah, which is backed by its enemy Iran, the biggest threat across its border. The two last fought a war in 2006.
Britain’s Treasury, or finance ministry, said on Jan. 17 it had expanded an asset freeze to include the whole of Hezbollah in addition to its military wing.
Last year, Argentina designated the group, which it blames for two attacks on its soil, as a terrorist organization and froze its assets in the country.
Other countries that have designate Hezbollah or its military wing as a terrorist organization include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the European Union and Israel.


Lebanese spy chief tests positive for virus in US

Updated 21 October 2020

Lebanese spy chief tests positive for virus in US

  • Lebanon’s General Directorate of Public Security said that Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim is in ‘good health,’ but will postpone his return to Beirut following the PCR test

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s security chief has been forced to delay his return from an official visit to the US after testing positive for coronavirus following a series of White House meetings.

Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, director-general of the Lebanese Public Security, met with US officials, including David Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs; CIA director Gina Haspel; and national security adviser Robert O’Brien during his recent visit to Washington.

Hale, as well as several other employees from the State Department and other executive branch divisions, are now self-isolating for 14 days, US officials said.

Lebanon’s General Directorate of Public Security said that Ibrahim is in “good health,” but will postpone his return to Beirut following the PCR test.

The Lebanese intelligence chief also held talks with senior US security officials in Washington. He was scheduled to hold meetings in Paris before his return to Beirut.

In Lebanon, the number of coronavirus infections during October rose to more than 24,000, climbing past the September total of 22,000.

Since the outbreak began in February, more than 63,000 cases have been reported in the country, with 525 fatalities.

Firas Abyad, director of the Rafic Hariri University Hospital, said: “The situation is unacceptable. If we continue on this path, we will soon reach a point where the number of critical coronavirus cases outweighs the number of available intensive care beds. This will coincide with winter, when the demand for intensive care beds increases for pneumonia cases, for example.”

Abyad told Arab News: “One of the most difficult cases that doctors can face is the death of a mother after giving birth, due to the repercussions of her infection with the coronavirus, and this happened a few days ago in Tripoli.”

Abyad pointed to a “state of denial” among those infected with the virus, saying some “consider it as just a regular flu, and do not think about the consequences of the disease.”

He added: “We have 215 cases that need intensive care in Lebanon. We are not fully occupied yet, but we may be shortly.”

Almost 80 Lebanese towns have been placed in lockdown by the Ministry of Interior after recording high rates of infection.

The one-week lockdown decree issued on Tuesday included the southern Beirut neighborhoods of Ghobeiry, Haret Hreik, Burj Al-Brajneh, Tahwitet Al-Ghadeer and Al-Laylaki.

According to the Mount Lebanon Governorate, some suburbs “failed to abide by individual and collective preventive measures to limit the spread of active infection chains.”

The lockdown includes a ban on “social events, parties and gatherings of all kinds.”

Cafes, gaming lounges, amusement parks, sports clubs and public parks will also be closed under the restrictions.