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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BERLIN — The German parliament on Thursday voted in favor of a motion urging Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to ban all activities by the Iran-backed Hezbollah group on German soil, citing its “terrorist activities” especially in Syria. The motion also called for placing the group on the European Union's terrorist list.
The move was backed by Merkel’s conservatives, Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners and the opposition Free Democrats. It is not binding but will increase pressure on the government to act.
The motion said Germany should abandon its current policy of distinguishing between Hezbollah’s political arm and military units, which have fought alongside President Bashar Assad’s army in Syria.
“The lower house calls on the government to ban Hezbollah and not tolerate any activity by its representatives in Germany,” the motion said.
The motion praised government efforts to take action against Hezbollah supporters suspected of raising funds for the Lebanese Shiite group in Germany, mainly by giving prosecutors more investigative powers. But it said those measures were not enough.
The US and Israel have been calling on Germany to ban Hezbollah altogether, dismissing claims that its political and military wing are separate entities.
The United Kingdom early this year introduced legislation that classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, citing its military activities in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
At the moment, the EU lists Iran-backed Hezbollah's military wing as a banned terrorist group, but not its political wing, which has been part of Lebanese governments in recent years. — Agencies
Members of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah hold their flags during the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter, who was killed while fighting alongside Syrian government forces in Syria, in this March 1, 2016 file photo. — AFP
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