German police raided 54 locations across the country on Thursday in an investigation of a Hamburg-based center suspected of promoting Iranian ideology and supporting the activities of Hezbollah, the government said.

The Interior Ministry said the Islamic Center Hamburg, or IZH, has long been under observation by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. It said the activities of the group are aimed at spreading the “revolutionary concept” of Iran’s supreme leader.

Authorities are also looking into suspicions that it supports banned activities in Germany by Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which has repeatedly traded fire with Israel across the Israel-Lebanon border since Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza last month.

The IZH runs a mosque in Hamburg. The Interior Ministry said German intelligence believes it exerts significant influence or full control over some other mosques and groups, and that they often promote a “clearly antisemitic and anti-Israel attitude.” It said authorities are examining whether it can be banned, and material seized during the searches will be evaluated.

Wednesday’s raids were carried out in Hamburg and six other German states — Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria in the south, Berlin, and Hesse, North-Rhine Westphalia and Lower Saxony in the west and northwest. In addition to IZH, the investigation is also targeting five other groups suspected of being sub-organizations of it.

“We have the Islamist scene in our sights,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement. “Now in particular, at a time when many Jews feel particularly threatened, we tolerate no Islamist propaganda and no antisemitic and anti-Israel agitation.”

On Nov. 2, Faeser implemented a formal ban on activity by or in support of Hamas and dissolved Samidoun, a group that was behind a celebration of Hamas’ attack on Israel, following up on a pledge made by Chancellor Olaf Scholz shortly after the attack.

Source » abcnews.go