Report: Europe drug trade funds Hezbollah
German police suspect Hezbollah, of using drug trafficking in Europe to fund activities, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.
According to a report on the magazine's Web site, German police arrested two Lebanese citizens living in Germany in October after they transferred large sums of money to a family in Lebanon that has connections to Hezbollah's leadership, including Secretary General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
Suspicion was first raised in May 2008, when police found 8.7 million euros in the bags of four Lebanese men at the Frankfurt airport.
A police search of their apartment in Speyer, Germany turned up an additional 500,000 euros. According to the report, police suspected the men were selling cocaine in Europe and sending the profits back to Lebanon.
It added that the two suspects were trained at a Hezbollah camp. The suspects deny the allegations.
In other developments in Lebanon, the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL began five days of maneuvers in southern Lebanon that are to include live ammunition, including artillery. Israel has reportedly stepped up its patrols along the Lebanese border with helicopters and pilotless drones and its naval patrols near the border.
In recent years Israel has accused Hezbollah of drug trafficking along the Lebanon-Israel border, a charge Nasrallah denies. In a speech in November he accused Israel of trying to put a political spin on what he said was a drug operation run by Lebanese drug dealers in collusion with Israeli border guards.