August 6, 2018 | The Jerusalem Post
EU report details international web of Hezbollah terror funding
A newly released European Union report on terrorism states that Lebanese nationals worked with organized crime organizations to finance Hezbollah’s terrorist activities.
The European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2018 wrote, “In 2017, member states carried out several investigations into financing of terrorism. One major investigation focused on a large network of Lebanese nationals offering money laundering services to organized crime groups in the EU and using a share of the profits to finance terrorism-related activities of the Lebanese Hezbollah’s military wing.”
The report added, “The cooperation of these money-launderers and Hezbollah’s military wing was a clear example of a nexus between organized crime and terrorism.”
The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 70-page EU report and found it did not provide any more specifics on Hezbollah’s activities in Europe. Hezbollah has played a key role in aiding Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war that has resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 people.
The EU only designated Hezbollah’s so-called military wing a terrorist entity in 2013. US President Donald Trump, former US president Barack Obama and ex-secretary of state Hillary Clinton have urged the EU to proscribe all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
The Iranian regime is the chief financial sponsor of Hezbollah, with an annual $700 million supplied by Tehran to the Lebanese Shi’ite group, according to the US government.
The Post reported in June that Al-Mustafa Community Center in the northern German city-state of Bremen is a major hub for raising funds for Hezbollah in Lebanon, according to a German intelligence report published by the Bremen intelligence agency.
The agency’s newly released report in June stated, “The Al-Mustafa Community Center supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, especially by collecting donations.”
The Post uncovered the Shi’ite organization’s bank account – the Bremen-based Sparkasse. The Bremen intelligence agency, the rough equivalent to Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), said there are approximately 60 Hezbollah supporters in Al-Mustafa’s organization and “the Arab- Shi’ite association functions as a point of contact for Shi’ite Muslims in Bremen, especially those from Lebanon.”
Some 950 Hezbollah operatives are in Germany, according to numerous German intelligence reports. The Hezbollah members raise funds and recruit new members.
The United States, Canada, the Arab League, the Netherlands and Israel classify Hezbollah a terrorist organization. In 2012, Hezbollah operatives blew up an Israeli tour bus in Bulgaria, murdering five Israelis and their Bulgarian Muslim bus driver.
Benjamin Weinthal reports on human rights in the Middle East and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.
Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.