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Germany’s governing parties are calling for a ban of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, saying it should be put on the European Union’s terrorist list.

File photo of a Hezbollah parade

Mathias Middelberg, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, said a joint resolution with the junior coalition Social Democrats would be introduced for debate Thursday.

“It is unacceptable that Hezbollah is waging a terrorist fight against Israel in the Middle East, which is being financed through worldwide criminal activities, among other things,” he said in a statement. “In view of Germany’s special responsibility toward Israel, we call on the government to ban all activities for Hezbollah in Germany.”

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.

“The separation between a political and a military arm should be abandoned, and Hezbollah as a whole should be placed on the EU terrorist list,” Mr Middelberg said. “This could freeze Hezbollah’s funds and assets in Europe more extensively than before.”

It was not immediately clear whether the resolution would prompt the government to pursue a full ban, but with the governing parties and most opposition on board, such action seemed likely.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas acknowledged that with Hezbollah’s ties to Lebanese government “the political reality in Lebanon is complex,” but he said “this should not prevent us from exhausting the legal possibilities in Germany to tackle Hezbollah’s criminal and terrorist activities.”

“Hezbollah denies Israel’s right to exist, threatens violence and terror, and continues to massively increase its arsenal of missiles,” Mr Maas said.

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Amal groups clash with security forces on December 17, 2019 in central Beirut. AFP

In Lebanon, Hezbollah was part of caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s unity Cabinet, which resigned on October 29 in response to mass anti-government protests amid a worsening economic crisis.

THE NATIONAL

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