Hezbollah’s International Expansion Dominates Meeting Of Law Enforcement Coordination Group

(New York, N.Y.) — Monday marked the anniversaries of the 1994 terrorist attack against the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) community center in Buenos Aires and the 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria. The Argentina attack killed 85 people and wounded 300, while the Bulgaria attack killed six and wounded 35. Hezbollah is suspected in both attacks and today remains a threat to international security as well as Lebanon’s stability.

Last month, the Law Enforcement Coordination Group, a multilateral organization focused on countering Hezbollah’s terrorist and illicit activities, met to discuss counter measures against Hezbollah and its extensive networks. In a sign of the growing recognition of the threat Hezbollah poses to international security, law enforcement authorities and foreign intelligence experts from nearly 30 countries participated, including from Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.

To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s resource Hezbollah, please click here.

The meeting primarily focused on Hezbollah’s rapid expansion into Africa and Latin America. Hezbollah remains active in illicit transnational criminal activities—including in western Africa and South America’s Tri-Border Area (TBA) covering Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay—such as drug trafficking, intellectual property theft, and money laundering. Participants also reportedly called for wider recognition of Hezbollah’s terrorist nature. Since 2019, several European nations have joined the United States, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, and others in designating Hezbollah as a singular terrorist entity, revising previous designations that artificially separated Hezbollah’s terrorist armed wing from its political faction.

To read CEP’s report The Many Criminal Heads of the Golden Hydra: How the Tri-Border Area’s Interlocking Arcs of Crime Create LatAm’s #1 International Fusion Center, please click here.

To read CEP’s resource Lebanon, please click here.

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On August 13, 2017, suspected al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) gunmen opened fire on a Turkish restaurant and hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 19 people were killed and 22 others were wounded.    

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