Navigate to News section

Hezbollah Operative Convicted in Cyprus

Case will pressure EU to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization

Adam Chandler
March 28, 2013
Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah(Reuters)
Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah(Reuters)

The European Union’s long-standing resistance to logic was dealt another blow earlier today when a Cyprus court convicted a Hezbollah operative named Hossam Taleb Yaacoub for plotting to kill Israeli tourists in Cyprus. (Yaacoub was sentenced to four years in prison and retains the right to appeal the case.)

The conviction of Yaacoub may add greater urgency to the EU talks to include Hezbollah in its terror list. EU countries such as Austria and Germany have blocked a listing of Hezbollah because of insufficient legal evidence showing Hezbollah engages in terrorism. The Cyprus conviction represents the first conviction of a Hezbollah member in a European court.

Add this to last month’s implication of Hezbollah in last summer’s bus bombing in Bulgaria, which took the lives of a five Israeli tourists and a Muslim bus driver, mix in President Obama’s call to label the group a terrorist organization last week in Jerusalem, and sprinkle in a declaration by the parliament of Bahrain calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization and you’ve got a movement to call–as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might say–a duck, a duck.

President Obama still gets the style points for his statement last week:

“When I think about Israel’s security, I think about five Israelis who boarded a bus in Bulgaria, who were blown up because of where they came from; robbed of the ability to live and love and raise families. That’s why every country that values justice should call Hezbollah what it truly is: a terrorist organization.”


Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.