German authorities raid 54 pro-Hezbollah sites in nationwide sting operation

German authorities raid 54 pro-Hezbollah sites in nationwide sting operation

German authorities raided dozens of Islamic sites and facilities across the country on Thursday as part of a sting targeting proxies and other radicalized supporters of the militant group Hezbollah.

The investigation centered on the Islamic Center in Hamburg as the focal point of an operation to smoke out domestic insurgents who were aiming to subvert the country’s “constitutional order,” the interior ministry said, while accusing the center of serving as a mouthpiece for the Iranian government.

Before dawn Thursday, federal agents launched simultaneous raids on 54 properties across seven states, targeting not only the Hamburg group but also five other associated entities that haven’t been named yet by authorities.

Aside from Hamburg, the federal sweep also targeted suspected outposts in Lower Saxony, Hesse, Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The government did not identify any specific threats leading up to the raids, but indicated that the Hamburg center was suspected of rallying support for the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is banned in Germany.

The German government banned Hezbollah in 2020 when it declared the Iran-backed group a terrorist organization.

The interior ministry called the Hamburg center a propaganda machine for Tehran which was spreading revolutionary concepts, particularly those opposing Israel, to deepen divisions and incite extremism amid the Israel-Hamas war, which has continued for nearly six weeks without any signs of a ceasefire.

The ministry noted that the organization wielded “great influence on certain mosques and clubs, including complete control” over its associates, while promoting “a clear antisemitic and anti-Israel attitude.”

“The suspicions against the ‘Islamic Center Hamburg’ are serious,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said after the massive operation. “It has long been monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and classified as Islamist.”

Fraeser also highlighted recent tumult throughout Germany amid the Middle East conflict.

“We have the Islamist scene in our sights,” she said. “Especially now, at a time when many Jews feel particularly threatened, we generally do not tolerate Islamist propaganda or antisemitic and anti-Israel incitement.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s interior ministry did not disclose whether any suspects were arrested during Thursday’s siege, nor whether any weapons, contraband, or properties were seized.

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