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German lawmakers to investigate spying by US National Security Agency, other foreign agencies

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a meeting of the German parliament, Bundestag,  in Berlin, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Russia faces further sanctions from the European Union on Thursday over its annexation of the Crimea Peninsula as tensions in the region remained high despite the release of a Ukrainian naval commander. In an address to the German Parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU was readying further sanctions and that the G-8 forum of leading economies had been suspended indefinitely. Russia holds the presidency of the G-8 and President Vladimir Putin was due to host his counterparts, including President Barack Obama, at a summit in Sochi in June. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a meeting of the German parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Thursday, March 20, 2014. Russia faces further sanctions from the European Union on Thursday over its annexation of the Crimea Peninsula as tensions in the region remained high despite the release of a Ukrainian naval commander. In an address to the German Parliament, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU was readying further sanctions and that the G-8 forum of leading economies had been suspended indefinitely. Russia holds the presidency of the G-8 and President Vladimir Putin was due to host his counterparts, including President Barack Obama, at a summit in Sochi in June. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

German lawmakers have agreed to launch an inquiry into surveillance conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency and other foreign intelligence services, including the tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone.

Merkel's governing coalition and opposition lawmakers both voted Thursday to establish a parliamentary probe.

It will explore the scope of spying on Germans' private communications by America and its allies in the so-called "Five Eyes" network — Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — and the extent of German officials' own knowledge of these covert operations.

The probe is expected to start next month.

Opposition lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele said parliamentary investigators should seek to question NSA leaker Edward Snowden, even though U.S. officials might object.

German federal prosecutors are mulling whether to open their own investigation into NSA activities.