TEL AVIV – Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah blasted Germany for outlawing his terror group, saying the European country surrendered to U.S. pressure and aimed to please Israel.
On Thursday, Berlin designated the Lebanese group a “terrorist organization” and raided mosques and houses affiliated with it.
Nasrallah said it was a “political decision that reflects Germany’s submission to America’s will and to pleasing Israel.”
“The decision is part of the Israeli-American war in the area. The only one to stand up to the American hegemony and Israeli occupation is the resistance movement,” he said.
He added that Hezbollah had no presence in Germany.
“When we say we are not active in Germany, we are being 100 percent honest,” Nasrallah said, adding Germany’s actions in storming mosques and private residences were “barbaric.”
He also noted more European countries are likely to follow suit and ban his group even though he claimed it had stopped activities in Europe.
Israel is said to have provided Germany with intelligence on Hezbollah’s activities in Germany prior to its announcement of the new policy.
The policy sees Berlin recognizing all of Hezbollah, and not just its military arm, as a terror organization, marking a departure from its previous position which was in line with the EU.
Hezbollah activities “violate criminal law and the organization opposes the concept of international understanding,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a statement.
Germany, like most of Europe, has until now dragged its feet in outlawing both the military and political arms of the Lebanon-based group out of concerns this would harm relations with Beirut.
The U.S., UK, Netherlands and Israel designates the group in its entirety a terror organization.
“Just as it is not possible to distinguish between political and religious members of the organization, it is also not possible to divide the organization into its political, social and military wings,” a 32-page long document from the Germany’s Interior Ministry states.
German police on Thursday morning raided mosques and residences associated with Hezbollah in various locations across the country after the ban was announced.
Even though there is no official branch of Hezbollah in Germany, security officials believe up to 1,050 people are affiliated with the group and the country has been used as both a recruiting and fundraising base, Reuters reported.
Hezbollah symbols may not be used publicly in any assembly, print, audio or visual material in Germany, and its assets will be confiscated “to the benefit of the Federal Republic of Germany,” the Interior Ministry’s statement reads.
“Violations of bans on organizations and activities are equally punishable,” the statement continues.
Hezbollah “openly calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist. The organization is therefore fundamentally against the concept of international understanding, regardless of whether it presents itself as a political, social or military structure.”
German security authorities can “use all available instruments of the rule of law to crack down on terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and take strict measures against their activities in Germany,” the statement adds.
“The organization is therefore fundamentally against the concept of international understanding, regardless of whether it presents itself as a political, social or military structure,” the German Interior Ministry said.
“Its violent denial of the right to exist of the state of Israel also fundamentally opposes Germany’s national ethos,” a separate Interior Ministry document states.
Israel praised the move.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz said it marked a significant triumph in the “global battle against terror.”
Katz called on the E.U. and other European states to follow suit and declare that “Hezbollah, its military and political arms, is a terrorist organization and must be treated that way.”