Hizballah terrorists are exploiting Germany's refugee policy and entered the country as part of the recent wave of Middle East migrants, according to the Jerusalem Post's review of a German intelligence report released this month.
"Since mid-2015 there are increased indications of fighters from Shi'ite militias entering Germany as legal refugees," the report says, and "roughly 50% [of the fighters] show a direct connection to Hezbollah."
A growing number of Hizballah operatives are settling in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, the report says. The region hosts the Imam-Mahdi Center – a traditional hub for Hizballah operatives. The report also cites a growing and open Hamas presence in North Rhine-Westphalia, despite Germany's terrorist designation of the Palestinian organization, where Hamas supporters exploit Germany to "collect funds" and "recruit new members to spread their propaganda."
There are roughly 950 Hizballah members throughout Germany, according to a 2014 Berlin intelligence report summarized by the Jerusalem Post. Though the number of Hizballah supporters is believed to be far higher in Germany than listed in the report.
Radical Islamists are "the greatest danger to Germany...Germany is on the spectrum of goals for Islamic terrorists," said Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's domestic intelligence agency – the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).
Hizballah operatives serve as senior employees of a German government-funded theater project aimed to assist refugees in the country, a 2016 Berliner Zeitung daily report said.
Germany's interior ministry previously accused Iran of conducting significant espionage activity in the country during the past decade, including plotting attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets. For example, German prosecutors allege that Haidar Syed-Naqfi was ordered to identify Jewish and Israeli institutions in Germany and other Western European countries for potential terrorist attacks. He allegedly monitored the headquarters of a Jewish newspaper in Berlin and identified several Israel supporters. German authorities believe his preparations were "a clear indication of an assassination attempt."
Between July 2015 and July 2016, Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) al-Quds Force paid Syed-Naqi more than $2,200.
While the European Union, including Germany, designated Hizballah's military wing as a terrorist entity, Germany allows Hizballah's political wing to operate freely. The U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands designate Hizballah as a terrorist organization entirely. Even senior Hizballah officials have noted the futility in distinguishing between its political and military wings, acknowledging that Hizballah is a hierarchical organization with a clear chain of command. The organization's terrorist and military wings answer to its senior leadership and political echelons, including Iran – its primary sponsor.
Journalist Abigal R. Esman is the author of Radical State: How Jihad is winning over Demcracy in the West, among other books.