The Interior Ministry of Germany has announced its decision to ban all Iran-backed Hezbollah activity on its soil and designated it a terrorist organisation.
Authorities thinks Hezbollah has been using Germany as a base for recruitment and fundraising.
Following the announcement the German Police conducted a series of early morning raids on mosque associations in four cities across the country “due to their financial support and propaganda for the terrorist organization,” after the ban was announced at 6 in the morning.
Security forces believe about 1,050 people in Germany are allegedly part of Hezbollah’s group.
A spokesman said, “Even in times of crisis, the rule of law is capable of acting.”
Both Israel and the US had been pressuring Berlin to ban Hezbollah. On a visit to Berlin last year, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped Germany would follow Britain in banning Hezbollah. The UK introduced legislation in February of last year that classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The EU currently classifies Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group, but not its political wing. Germany had previously distinguished between Hezbollah’s political arm and its military units, which have been fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Hezbollah is also a significant supporter of the government of Lebanese PM Hassan Diab, which took office in January.
Israel Foreign Minister Israel Katz praised the decision, saying it is “very important and values-based”. Katz also called on additional European states and the EU to follow Germany’s lead and say that “Hezbollah, its military and political arms, is a terrorist organization and must be treated that way.”
Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political, military and social organisation that wields considerable power in Lebanon. The group emerged with the support of Iran during the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s. The group gradually became a key stakeholder in Lebanon’s political system. Analysts estimates that Hezbollah’s capabilities exceed those of the Lebanese army.