Last Updated: Jan 15 2009 - Able2Act

Fact Sheet for Hizballah

Country: Lebanon
Description: Formed in 1982 in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Hizballah (?the Party of God?), a Lebanon-based radical Shia group, advocates Shia empowerment within Lebanon. The group also supports Palestinian rejectionist groups in their struggle against Israel and now provides training for Iraqi Shia militants attacking Coalition forces in Iraq. Hizballah is known or suspected to have been involved in or provided support to numerous anti-US terrorist attacks, including the suicide truck bombings of the US Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983, and the US Embassy annex in Beirut in September 1984, as well as the hijacking of TWA 847 in 1985 and the Khobar Towers attack in Saudi Arabia in 1996. Hizballah primarily operates in the Bekaa Valley, Hermil, the southern suburbs of Beirut, and southern Lebanon. The group has established cells in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia.Since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 in the fall of 2004, which called for the disarmament of all armed militias in Lebanon, Hizballah has focused on justifying its retention of arms by casting itself within Lebanon as the only reliable bulwark against Israeli aggression. To this end, Hizballah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border on 12 July 2006 in a gambit to negotiate the release of Lebanese and other Arab prisoners being held by Israel. In response, Israel launched an extensive military campaign against Hizballah in Lebanon with the aim of eradicating the organization. Following the UN-brokered cease-fire in August 2006, Hizballah claimed victory by virtue of its survival and has since sought to use the conflict to justify its need to retain its arms as a Lebanese resistance force. In February 2008, Hizballah?s military chief ?Imad Mughniyah was killed by a vehicle bomb set off by unknown persons in Damascus. Hizballah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah publicly blamed Israel and promised retaliation. In mid-May, Hizballah launched a military offensive against the Lebanese Government after it threatened to launch an investigation into the group?s private communications network and had removed the head of security at Beirut International airport, who was suspected of allegiance to Hizballah.Hizballah?s political power and prominence in Lebanon were enhanced in the summer of 2008 following its consolidation of a blocking veto in the Lebanese Cabinet and its successful negotiation of a prisoner exchange with Israel. Hizballah returned the remains of the two soldiers kidnapped in 2006 while Israel released five prisoners and the remains of some 200 other Lebanese.The group is also known as the Islamic Resistance, Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization, and Organization of the Oppressed on Earth.
Leaders: Hassan Nasrallah (2006) Shaykh Nabil Qauq (2006) Khalil Harb (2006) Ibrahim Akil Fuad Shaker (2006) Shaykh Abbas Hareke (2006) Imad Mughniyah (2006) Mustafa Badr al-Din (2006) Mustafa Shahada (2006) Abd-al-Hadi Hamadi (2006) Talal Hussein Hamia (2006)
Influencers: Sheikh Muhammed Hussein Fadlallah
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