Posted: March 31, 2008
Updated: June 9, 2010
Since its emergence in 1982, Hezbollah has waged an anti-Israel campaign and guerilla war against Israeli forces. The Lebanese-based U.S.-designated terrorist organization, which seeks to establish an Islamic state that encompasses both Lebanon and Israel, has been implicated in numerous terrorist attacks against Israeli and Western targets.
Hezbollah's ongoing campaign against Israel erupted in July 2006 when Hezbollah operatives killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others stationed in Israeli sovereign territory. In response to the attack, Israeli forces launched a series of strikes intended to remove the Hezbollah threat from its border and cripple the military capabilities of the terrorist organization.
Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has issued numerous statements threatening Jews both within Israel and throughout the world. Nasrallah further increased his threats against Israel and declared "open war" on the Jewish state following the February 2008 car bombing in Syria that killed Hezbollah Operations Chief Imad Mughniyah, who was allegedly responsible for several deadly Hezbollah bombings against Western and Israeli targets around the world. Hezbollah has repeatedly accused Israel of masterminding the assassination.
Several Hezbollah plots to avenge Mughniyah's death have been thwarted around the world. Three months after the Hezbollah Operations Chief was killed, Azerbaijani officials reportedly foiled a Hezbollah plot to detonate multiple car bombs outside the Israeli and U.S. Embassies in Baku, the Azerbaijani capital. As part of the plot, Hezbollah also reportedly planned to attack a Jewish community center in Baku.
In April 2009, Egypt announced that it had discovered a Hezbollah cell of approximately 50 people that was reportedly planning to attack tourist villages in the Sinai Peninsula frequented by Israeli and Western tourists. The Hezbollah operatives also allegedly monitored shipping traffic in the Suez Canal, and at least two of them planned to carry out large-scale suicide bombings in Tel Aviv and elsewhere "deep inside Israel."
In August 2009, Israeli police and Shin Bet foiled a Hezbollah plot to assassinate Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. As part of the plot, an Israeli Arab who belonged to the same Tel Aviv health club as the IDF chief allegedly provided information about Ashkenazi and his bodyguard to a Hezbollah operative he had met at a summer camp in Morocco.
Two months later, Turkish security authorities announced that they had thwarted a series of Hezbollah plots to attack Jewish and Israeli targets in Turkey to avenge Mughniyah's death. These plots were reportedly planned with intelligence provided by Syria and Iran, which have helped Hezbollah rearm since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.