Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer issued an order on Thursday that banned the activities of the Lebanese Shiite militia party Hezbollah in the country with immediate effect.
The order, to which ‘Bild’ had access, explicitly states that Hezbollah “has carried out a variety of attacks involving hundreds of dead and wounded worldwide” and “has declared that the annihilation of the State of Israel was” its aim.
The ban means that since Thursday the German authorities can punish all Hezbollah activities in Germany under the Criminal Code. For example, anyone waving flags or showing signs with Hezbollah symbols during demonstrations can be sentenced to prison terms of up to one year.
In parallel, police raids were carried out in four mosques in Berlin, Dortmund, Münster and Bremen in the early morning hours of Thursday, which are believed to have links to Hezbollah, as the German news agency DPA reports.
The German secret service estimates that there are currently around 1,050 members and supporters of Hezbollah, which was founded in Lebanon in 1982, in the country. In Germany, they do not work under an official organization, but carry out informal activities, such as collecting donations. Hezbollah is credited with numerous attacks on Israel and has ties to Iran.