Germany: A hotbed of Hizbullah activity

Khaled Kashkush is not the first Hizbullah spy to be recruited and trained in Germany. In 1997 the Lebanese Shi’ite movement recruited Stefan Smyrek, a German who converted to Islam, to carry out a suicide attack in Tel Aviv or Haifa. Smyrek, whose father was a British soldier stationed in Germany, was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport and released as part of a prisoner swap in 2004. Alexander Ritzmann, a Hizbullah expert and senior fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that mosques and Iranian cultural centers in such cities as Hamburg, Berlin and M_nster were hotbeds of Hizbullah activity. The terrorist organization has not been outlawed in Germany, and its approximately 900 supporters are permitted to raise funds and call for the destruction of Israel. The number of Hizbullah members in Germany has grown from 800 in 2006 to 900 in 2007, according to German intelligence reports. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – identified Hizbullah as a threat to the country’s democracy in its annual report for 2007. Jerusalem Post Benjamin Weinthal reports.