Germany classifies Hezbollah militia as terrorist organization
Turkey - SMART
On Thursday, the German Interior Ministry announced that Germany has officially designated the Lebanese Hezbollah militia a terrorist organization, and police are currently conducting raids against Hezbollah.
The Lebanese Hezbollah is a sectarian militia classified as a terrorist group in a large number of Arab and Western countries. It has been fighting alongside the Syrian government forces against peaceful movements since March 2013. It has been accused of committing war crimes against Syrian civilians. Dozens of its leaders and members were killed in Syria.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer banned Hezbollah activities in Germany, his ministry spokesman Steve Alter said on Twitter.
Alter also confirmed that police measures are underway early morning in several federal states. Alter added that even in times of crisis, the "rule of law is able to act," in reference to the spread of COVID-19 in Germany.
The police raids are focused on four mosque associations in Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen and Münster accused of belonging to Hezbollah.
Security officials believe up to 1,050 people in Germany are part of what they describe as Hezbollah's extremist wing.
Previously, Berlin had distinguished between Hezbollah's political arm and its military units, which have fought alongside President Bashar al-Assad's army in Syria. In 2013, the European Union classifies Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist group.
In Sept. 2019, Germany gave the authority to federal prosecutors to open criminal cases against members of Hezbollah militia, which is considered a foreign terror organization.
On Jan. 17, 2020, Britain's Treasury announced on its website it had designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization with its military and political wings. The move will freeze the group’s assets in Britain. Last year, the UK named the military wing of the Iran-backed organization a terrorist group, accusing it of destabilizing the Middle East.