Germany on Thursday deployed hundreds of authorities nationwide to hunt down 1,050 individuals believed to be “extremist wings” or have links to the powerful militant group Hezbollah.
Police entered mosques, homes, and religious associations which have been openly raising funds for Lebanon-based group, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Berlin, and Bremen,
This came after the Interior Ministry classified any activity linked to the Shiite group as terror-related, a move that was long-urged step by the United States and Israel, which Germany feels has a special responsibility due to the Holocaust.
German authorities said that they were able to track down the big names on the list while detention and apprehension will continue over the next few days.
“The activities of Hezbollah violate criminal law and the organisation opposes the concept of international understanding … regardless of whether it presents itself as a political, social or military structure,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
This means that all gatherings with symbols of Hezbollah are banned in publications or the media and that all of its assets are to be confiscated.
The ministry underscored that the group is “a foreign organisation” and is “not impossible to ban and dissolve.”
Israel and the US lauded Germany for banning the group.
Before Germany, Britain banned Hezbollah in February last year and classified the organisation as a terrorist group.
“It is a very important decision and a valuable and significant step in the global fight against terrorism,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said.
“I call on other European countries as well as the European Union to do the same. All the parts of Hezbollah, including the social, political and military wings are terror organizations and they should be treated as such,” he added.
At present, the EU classifies Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group but not its political wing.
German security who was not identified was quoted by the Business Insider as saying that they will find most of the names on the list.
“These are mostly legal residents who were not in hiding before the announcement,” the source said.
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