Wednesday, 11 Dec 2019 - 13 of Kislev, 5780

Germany’s Interior Ministry denies total ban of Hezbollah

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On Thursday, Der Spiegel magazine reported that Germany’s Interior, Justice and Foreign Ministries had agreed to move towards outlawing the Iran-backed Lebanese group.

Israel, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and the Arab League are some of the countries or entities that classify the entire group as a terrorist organization.

BERLIN—A German Interior Ministry spokesman denied that the country has decided to totally ban. 

On Thursday, Der Spiegel news magazine reported that Germany’s Interior, Justice and Foreign Ministries had agreed to move towards outlawing the Iran-backed Lebanese group.

The magazine report said that the decision would be announced next week.

The news agency dpa had also reported that Germany was close to announcing a ban on the group’s activities, a move that would allow banning certain activities or people, but would not constitute an outright ban.

Reuters news agency reported that Germany’s attorney general had been given full power of attorney to investigate Hezbollah’s activities in September.

The reports came two months after US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell renewed pressure on Germany to ban the Lebanese-based organization, which the US has classified as a terrorist organization.

Like most member states of the European Union, until now Germany only recognized the organization’s “military wing” as a terrorist entity. They make a distinction between Hezbollah (the ‘’Party of God’ led by Hassan Nasrallah) as a Shiite Islamist party and the paramilitary organization operating in Lebanon and supported by Iran. It has had a presence in the country’s parliament since 1992 and its military wing is said to be more powerful than Lebanon’s armed forces.

It is responsible for frequent attacks on Israel and terrorist activities abroad, targeting Israeli and Jewish interests, like the deadly bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, which killed 85 people and the Burgas attack which left 7 Israeli tourists dead in 2012.

EU efforts to ban the group have been held up primarily by France, with its government arguing that distinguishing between its political and military arms helps foster dialogue.

Israel, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and the Arab League are some of the countries or entities that classify the entire group as a terrorist organization.

Jewish group have regularly urged the EU and EU member states to stop making an artificial distinction between the ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings of Hezbollah and put it entirely on the list of EU-banned terror groups.

“Hezbollah is one of the worst terrorist organizations in the world. Not only does it use Germany for refuge and fund-raising, but it also appears in public, including at demonstrations in Berlin,” says the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

“As an extension of the Iranian regime, Hezbollah poses an immediate threat to Jews in Germany as well as to security in general. One cannot tolerate the fact that more than 1,000 fanatical officials conduct their business unhindered, incite, threaten, and organize criminal activities,” the group which has called on the German government to close down the infrastructure of Hezbollah in the country and prosecute its leaders.

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