- "Since dawn, there have been police movements in several areas" against centers linked to Hezbollah.
- The activities of four associations affiliated with Hezbollah are also banned in Germany.
- Israel and the United States welcomed the move.
The German government announced Thursday that all activities of the Lebanese group Hezbollah will be banned, after designating the militant and political group a terrorist organization. The European Union considers Hezbollah’s militant wing, but not its political wing, a terrorist organization.
Steve Alter, a spokesman for German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, tweeted that the Minister “today banned the activity of the Shiite terrorist organization (Hezbollah) in Germany.” Alter added, “since dawn, there have been police movements in several areas” against centers linked to Hezbollah.
The American Jewish Committee praised Germany’s move. “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,” said ACJ Ceo David Harris. “Permitting its ‘political’ wing to operate on European soil allows for active recruitment, fundraising, and the poisonous spread of antisemitism, not to mention sending a European message of hesitation and indecisiveness.”
The German magazine Der Spiegel, and the German newspaper Bild reported that police operations targeted three mosques— one in the capital, Berlin, one in Bremen, and one in Münster— in addition to “a center for Lebanese immigrants” in Dortmund. Hundreds of policemen participated in these operations.
The German authorities put the number of Hezbollah members on their soil at around 1,000. German Interior Intelligence accuses the Iranian-backed party of “collecting donations, recruiting supporters and organizing demonstrations calling for the destruction of Israel.”
Congratulations from America
The former US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who today became an adviser to US President Donald Trump, called for Germany to ban the political activity of the Shiite party on its soil last September. This is similar to what Britain and the Netherlands did.
“This will prevent Hezbollah from raising supporters and donations and allow Germany to send a strong message that shows it does not tolerate violence, anti-Semitism, and terrorism in Europe,” wrote Grenell, in an article published by the German newspaper Die Welt at the time.
For its part, the Israeli Foreign Ministry welcomed the German decision, considering it an “important step” in the “global struggle against terrorism.” The Israeli Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, expressed his “deep gratitude” to the German government for this measure, saying that it is “a very important decision and an important and significant step in the war against terrorism in the world.”
“I am sure that many governments in the Middle East, as well as thousands of victims of Hezbollah terrorism, welcome this decision,” Katz added. “In my conversations with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, he promised to help and I thank him,” Katz tweeted. “Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and must be treated as such.”
The Israeli Minister called on “other European countries as well as the European Union” to follow the example of Germany, “by preventing all social, political, and military activities of Hezbollah because they are terrorist organizations and should be treated as such.”