Germany bans, carries out raids on three groups linked to Hezbollah

By Anne-Beatrice Clasmann, dpa

German police carried out raids on 20 locations in several states on Wednesday targeting organizations that have been banned for their links to the Islamist Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

The raids enforced a ban on the three groups – German Lebanese Family, People for People and Give Peace – that had been announced on April 15, an Interior Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Raids were carried out in Bremen, Hesse, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland-Palatinate.

“Those who support terrorism will not be safe in Germany,” a spokesman for Interior Minister Horst Seehofer quoted him as saying on Twitter.

“No matter in what guise its supporters appear, they will not find a safe haven in our country,” added the minister, who is currently in quarantine at home due to a coronavirus infection.

The raids were “a message to Israel’s enemies: Germany stands side by side with the people of Israel,” said Paul Ziemiak, the secretary general of Germany’s governing Christian Democrat party (CDU).

The three banned groups are said to have collected donations and arranged sponsorships for Hezbollah “martyr families.”

The ministry said that young Hezbollah supporters were more willing to take part in the fight against Israel due to the certainty that their loved ones would receive financial support in case they died.

The aim of the organizations was to promote the Shiite group’s fight against Israel, which goes against the idea of international understanding, the ministry said.

Germany banned Hezbollah activity on its soil in March 2020.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency estimates that there are about 1,050 Hezbollah members and supporters currently in the country.

They do not comprise an official organization in Germany, but instead work in an unofficial capacity, raising funds, among other activities, according to security officials.

A Sunni Islamist group, Hamas, is currently engaged in an intense conflict with the Israeli military in and around the Gaza Strip.

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