On April 30th, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer banned Hezbollah activities in the country, his ministry spokesman said on Twitter.
BM #Seehofer hat heute die Betätigung der shiitischen Terrororganisation Hizb Allah (Partei Gottes) in Deutschland verboten. Seit den frühen Morgenstunden laufen in mehreren Bundesländern zeitgleich polizeiliche Maßnahmen. Auch in Krisenzeiten ist der Rechtsstaat handlungsfähig.
— Steve Alter (@BMISprecher) April 30, 2020
He also confirmed that “police measures are underway in several federal states concurrently,” and added that even in times of crisis, the “rule of law is able to act.”
The police carried out raids on four mosque associations in Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen and Münster accused of belonging to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah was also classified as a terrorist organization.
The American Jewish Committee praised Germany’s move to ban Hezbollah, calling it a “welcome, much-anticipated and significant German decision” in a statement.
“We now hope other European nations will take a close look at Germany’s decision and reach the same conclusion about the true nature of Hezbollah,” wrote AJC CEO David Harris. “Permitting its [Hezbollah’s] ‘political’ wing to operate on European soil allows for active recruitment, fundraising, and the poisonous spread of anti-Semitism,” the statement read.
“This is a welcome, much-anticipated, and significant German decision… We now hope other EU nations will take a close look at Germany’s decision and reach the same conclusion about the true nature of Hezbollah.”
— American Jewish Committee (@AJCGlobal) April 30, 2020
Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Israel Katz, issued similar praise for the decision.
“In my conversations with [German Foreign Minister] Heiko Maas, he promised to help and I thank him,” Katz tweeted. “Hezbollah is a terrorist organization & must be treated as such.”
I applaud the German govt for the decision to designate Hezbollah a terror organization. In my conversations with @HeikoMaas he promised to help & I thank him. I call on other European countries & the EU to do the same. Hezbollah is a terror organization & must be treated as such
— ישראל כ”ץ Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) April 30, 2020
In December 2019, Germany’s parliament approved a motion urging Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to ban all activities by Hezbollah on German soil, citing its “terrorist activities” especially in Syria.
On a trip to Berlin in 2019, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped Germany would follow Britain in banning Hezbollah. Britain introduced legislation in February 2019 that classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.
German authorities estimate around 1,050 people in Germany are active members of Hezbollah, but not specifically of the armed wing.
In September, federal prosecutors were given the authority to open criminal cases against members of any foreign terror organization.
In 2013, EU foreign ministers banned Hezbollah’s military wing but not its political work in Europe. As a result, sanctions can be imposed on its military leaders.
Germany simply designated it as a terrorist organization to stop the possibility of its political members carrying out any activity in the country.
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