Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 June 2019

German police raid 90 properties over suspected Hamas support

Islamic organisations are under investigation for allegedly funding the Palestinian militant group

A Palestinian stands amidst the rubble of the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV, destroyed by an Israeli airstrike earlier this week, in the Gaza Strip. AFP
A Palestinian stands amidst the rubble of the building housing the Hamas-run television station al-Aqsa TV, destroyed by an Israeli airstrike earlier this week, in the Gaza Strip. AFP

German police have raided the offices of several non-governmental organisations, alleging that they provided financial and propaganda support to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is on the European Union's terrorism blacklist.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Germany will not allow charities to provide support to the Gaza-based group. "Whoever supports Hamas under the guise of humanitarian aid disregards fundamental values of our constitution and discredits the commitment of many aid organisations," he said on Wednesday.

The main targets of the raids, WorldWide Resistance-Help and Ansaar International, are believed to have collected funds for the blacklisted organisation.

The Dusseldorf-based Ansaar International, which has been active since 2012, describes itself on its website as an aid organization carrying out projects "for the good of Allah." By its own count, it has 600 members in Germany and around 2,000 around the globe.

It states it provides health services, water and sanitation, orphanages and education in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Americas. In Gaza, it provides emergency food aid, water, electricity and schooling.

WWR Help claims to provide humanitarian services in Gaza and collect donations for Ramadan.

The German police believes these claims to be a cover-up for illicit funding of what the US, Israel and the EU consider a terrorist organisation. At least 90 properties across Germany were searched by the police as part of the crackdown.

The German government has been a strong supporter of Israel and often underlines its “special responsibility” for the Israeli state due to the Holocaust, which killed six million Jews.

Hamas, which has an armed and a political wing, took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 after defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party in Palestinian elections.

More than 2 million Palestinians live in the narrow coastal enclave and are victims of what is deemed to be one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Israel withdrew its troops and dismantled its settlement in Gaza in 2005. Despite that, Israel and Egypt both maintain tight control of its land and sea borders.

Updated: April 11, 2019 04:42 PM

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