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Bahrain to probe Hezbollah activities

GCC to look into their activities in the Gulf region

Gulf News

Manama: The Bahraini interior minister has directed security agencies to look into possible commercial or financial activities by the Lebanese group Hezbollah in Bahrain, the ministry said on Wednesday.

The activities to be probed include “financial investments, commercial and economic interests, operations that masquerade as charities, bank accounts and money transfers”. The possible presence of members of the group will also be investigated.

“The investigations are part of the steps being taken after Bahrain designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation,” Shaikh Rashid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said.

“The decision coincides with the recent announcement by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that member countries will consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and will look into their activities in the Gulf region,” he said in the statement carried by the interior ministry.

The GCC foreign ministers, holding a regular meeting in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Sunday, “decided to look into taking measures against Hezbollah’s interests in the member states”.

Bahrain last month declared Hezbollah a terrorist organisation in line with a motion filed by the parliament in which lawmakers complained about its role in allegedly fomenting unrest in the country.

“I urge all the lawmakers to endorse the proposal and refer it to the government,” MP Jasem Al Saeedi, an independent Salafist who led the move, said. “We should submit it directly without the need to refer it to the committee or to push for further studies because this is a corrupt and criminal party that is deeply implicated in bloodshed,” Al Saeedi said.

“The proposal is very clear and the terrorist activities of this party are also clear. What is needed is to refer it to the government promptly for ratification and the government must take the necessary measures without delay,” he said.

MP Abdul Hakeem Al Shammari charged that “Hezbollah is deeply implicated in terrorism, not only in Syria, but also in Bahrain”.

“We need to be straight about the rights of Bahrainis and our views as well as those of the government should not be overshadowed by other considerations to please others. Even Europe has started thinking about branding Hezbollah a terrorist organisation following reports that it was trafficking in drugs to fund terrorist activities in Syria and Bahrain,” the independent MP said.

On May 25, Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, the foreign minister, said that Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah was a terrorist and that saving Lebanon from him was a religious and national duty.

“The terrorist Nasrallah declares war on his nation,” Shaikh Khalid posted on his Twitter account. “Stopping him and rescuing Lebanon from his clutches is a national and religious duty for all of us,” the minister tweeted to his 140,269 followers.

Bahrain on May 27 banned all political formations from contacts with the group.

“All political societies are barred from any form of contact with Lebanon’s Hezbollah organisation considered a terrorist organisation,” the justice minister said.