Germany bans charity for 'Hezbollah links'

BERLIN – Germany has banned a Lebanese charity organization for having alleged links to Hezbollah and supporting attacks against Israel.

“Organizations that act against Israel’s right to exist, directly or indirectly from German territories cannot rely on the freedom of association,” said Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere in a written statement on Tuesday.

“Therefore today I have decided to ban the charity Orphaned Children Project – Lebanon, with immediate effect.”

Founded in 1997 in Germany, the charity had focused on supporting child victims of the war in Lebanon and so far offered support for 1,800 orphaned children, according to its website.

But Germany’s Interior Ministry said in a written statement on Tuesday that the charity had provided millions of euros to Hezbollah-linked Shahid Foundation and supported acts against Israel’s right to exist.

The Ministry accused Hezbollah and Shahid Foundation for recruiting militants and suicide bombers under the cover of humanitarian activities such as support for orphaned children.

German police raided early Tuesday more than a dozen locations in six states and searched offices of the children’s charity. The police seized various documents and unspecified amount of money, but no arrests were made, according to Interior Ministry sources.

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