HEZBOLLAH is to banned under anti-terror laws, home secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
The Lebanon-based group’s military wing is already outlawed but Mr Javid intends to extend the sanction to its political arm, from this Friday.
The step — expected to be approved by MPs — would make membership a criminal offence carrying a maximum sentence of ten years.
It would bring Britain into line with countries including the US.
Mr Javid (pictured) said: ‘Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the middle-east — and we are no longer able to distinguish between their military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.’
Until now, the UK has resisted proscribing the whole of Hezbollah because it provides social and political functions in Lebanon and has formed part of the country’s government. But MPs and Jewish groups argue it is a single entity, and want the loophole that allows its flag to fly on British streets during marches to be closed.
The register of banned groups says Hezbollah is ‘committed to armed resistance to Israel’.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘We are staunch supporters of a stable and prosperous Lebanon. We cannot, however, be complacent when it comes to terrorism.’