Germany Bans Hezbollah in its Entirety
According to the AFP, Germany’s government has completely banned Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement from carrying out activities within its borders.
On Thursday, police began raiding mosques and venues linked to the Lebanese group. Like the European Union as whole, Germany’s government had priorly only banned Hezbollah’s military wing while tolerating its political wing.
Yet, in a shift from its previous stance, the German interior ministry said it now considered the entire movement a “terrorist organization.” The announcement was immediately welcomed by representatives from the United States and Israel.
“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization deemed responsible for numerous attacks and kidnappings worldwide,” Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told the Bild. “Criminal activities and plannings for attacks are also taking place on German soil,”
Dozens of German police officers and special forces were seen storming mosques, buildings, and organizations linked to Hezbollah on Thursday morning. Special forces could be seen conducting operations in major cities such as Bremen, Berlin, Dortmund and Muenster, German media reported.
The Al-Irshad mosque in Berlin was cordoned off with at least 16 police vans parked outside according to reports. Masked police officers could be seen walking in and out of the mosque.
Even though Hezbollah has no official organizational representation in Germany, officials estimate it has roughly a thousand members in the country. Hezbollah is thought to use various cities across Germany as safe havens to make plans, recruit members and raise funds, including for criminal activities.
For years, the United States and Israel have designated Hezbollah, in its entirety, as a terrorist group and countries such as Germany to ban the group.