Australia is considering following the lead of the U.S. and U.K. in listing the military wing of Hezbollah in Lebanon as a terrorist organisation, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Thursday.
He added “nobody should have sympathy” for the way Hezbollah conducts itself, ahead of the Australian government reconsidering if the Lebanese organisation’s armed militia should be deemed a terrorist group.
Dutton is ready to receive security briefings on the Shiite Muslim political party before its status is reviewed in April.
The group is backed by Iran and its sworn enemy is Israel, engaging in multiple conflicts with the Jewish state.
“I mean, when you look at the activities of Hezbollah, nobody should have sympathy for the way in which they conduct themselves,” Dutton told local news outlet 2GB radio on Thursday.
“But we need to make decisions based on all of the facts and unfortunately sometimes in these cases, all of the facts aren’t publicly available,” he said.
“We’ve got to make a decision speaking to the agencies and working out what sometimes is a line-ball call, but there are other equities that we need to look at in the consideration of many of these matters.”
Different countries have deemed different parts of Hezbollah a terror group.
The United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and Canada list the entire organisation as a terror group, while France, New Zealand and the European Union only list its military wing as a terror group.
Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation (ESO), which sits under the military wing, has been listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia since 2003, SBS News reports.
In its listing, the government said “the broader goals of Hezbollah are the ‘liberation’ of Jerusalem, the destruction of Israel, and the establishment of a Shia-led Islamic state in Lebanon”.
“The ESO sits under the military wing of Hezbollah: alongside, but distinct from Hezbollah’s formal militia and military activity,” the listing said.