Obama ups pressure on EU to list Hezbollah as terror group

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Bulgaria's interior minister said three people were involved in the attack, including two suspects with ties to Hezbollah. The bomber was killed in the attack.

“We have established that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah," Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters in Bulgaria. "There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects."

Bulgaria is a close U.S. ally in Afghanistan, and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was the first foreign leader to visit President Obama at the White House after his reelection.

“Bulgaria’s investigation exposes Hizballah for what it is — a terrorist group that is willing to recklessly attack innocent men, women, and children, and that poses a real and growing threat not only to Europe, but to the rest of the world,” the White House said. “We commend Bulgarian authorities for their determination and commitment to ensuring that Hizballah is held to account for this act of terror on European soil. The United States will continue to provide the Bulgarian Government assistance in bringing the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice.”

Congress is also upping the pressure, with some 250 House members and 76 senators signing on to a letter last September urging the European Union to “stand with the United States against Hezbollah.”

“The targeting of innocents cannot be tolerated by any European Union state and must be condemned forcefully and unanimously by all member nations,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Tuesday. “The time is now for the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and punish these murderers.”

Europe's reluctance has become an issue in former Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of Defense. The former senator from Nebraska was one of only 12 senators not to sign on to a 2006 letter calling on the European Union to list the group.