The German government is planning to outlaw all activities of Lebanon's Hezbollah group in the country after previously only banning its military wing, the Hamburg-based Der Spiegel news magazine quoted government circles as saying Thursday.
The report said Berlin plans to ban the group’s political arm from operating in Germany following an agreement last week between the Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry and Interior Ministry.
A final decision could be made as early as next week at a conference of German state interior ministers.
As a result, the group’s members and activities in Germany would be treated like those of the PKK terrorist group or Islamic State.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah is recognized as a major political party and plays a role in the country’s complex power structure.
The European Union has only banned the military wing of Hezbollah, so the group is still allowed to carry out “political work”. A complete EU-wide ban failed in Brussels mainly because of France's resistance.
As a result, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has been calling for Hezbollah to be banned under the country's Association Act.
According to the Der Spiegel report, the Justice Ministry authorized the Federal Prosecutor's Office in September to launch investigations into Hezbollah's activities in Germany without its prior permission.
Calls for a complete ban on Hezbollah have been growing in recent months,
especially by U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who stepped up pressure on Berlin via Twitter.