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Germany

German Ban on Hezbollah TV Doesn't Surprise Broadcaster

The pro-Iranian Hezbollah militant movement said it was not surprised by Germany's decision to ban its al-Manar satellite television. Officials said the station violates the German constitution.

Image from television shows Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaking on the militant group's Al-Manar television

The ban will not prohibit Al-Manar's signal from reaching German viewers

"We were not surprised because it seems Germany is following the footsteps of the US and France," a source at the movement, who requested anonymity, told the German news agency dpa on Saturday, Nov. 22.

The channel, a mouthpiece for the militant Lebanese Shiite movement, has already been outlawed in the US and France. German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said al-Manar violated Germany's constitution, which prohibits hate speech as well as denial of the Holocaust.

The ban will prevent al-Manar from advertising or fundraising in Germany and block the reception of the channel in German hotels. Private homes, however, will still be able to tune into the station.

"Such a ban will not affect us or our supporters -- instead we feel stronger than before and our network will stay the media of the resistance against Israel," the Hezbollah source added.

Hezbollah has been branded as a terrorist organization by the US and Germany. The Shiite movement has played a key role in forcing the Israeli army to withdraw from southern Lebanon in May 2000, ending 22 years of occupation.

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