Description: This yellow symbol features a green central image with the Arabic lettering for “Hezbollah,” which translates into English as “the Party of God.” A fist rises from the letters clutching an AK-47. Below the rifle are a Qur’an, a globe and a seven-leafed branch. The red Arabic script above the rifle reads, “the party of God, they are the triumphant ones.” The red Arabic text below the central image reads, “the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon.”
Explanation: The central letters and images are depicted in green, a color that has represented Islam since the days of the Prophet Muhammad. The rifle symbolizes Hezbollah’s commitment to an armed struggle, while the globe represents the organization’s international activities. The Qur’an highlights Hezbollah’s goal to establish an Islamic state that encompasses Lebanon and Israel, as well as the group’s foundation in Islam. The Arabic script above the rifle – “the party of God, they are the triumphant ones” – is a Qur’anic verse that lauds those who are loyal to Allah and the Prophet Muhammad.
| Name Variations | Overview | Focus of Operations | Major Attacks | Leaders | Ideology | Goals | Methods | Sponsors | U.S.- Related Activities |
Hezbollah, Hizballah, Hizbollah, the Party of God, Islamic Jihad Organization, Revolutionary Justice Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, Organization of Right Against Wrong, Ansar Allah, Followers of the Prophet Muhammad
Hezbollah (Arabic for “the Party of God”) is a Lebanese-based terrorist organization that seeks to establish an Islamic state encompassing both Lebanon and Israel. Hezbollah emerged during Israel’s first war against Lebanon in 1982 with the help of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran's elite military unit.
Hezbollah has waged an anti-Israel campaign and guerilla war against Israeli forces since its emergence in 1982. Hezbollah has also been implicated in numerous terrorist attacks against Western targets, including the 1983 bombings at the U.S. Embassy and the multinational force barracks in Beirut. Hezbollah is also responsible for the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was killed, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen.
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 the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, who has served as Hezbollah’s leader since 1992, has threatened that Hezbollah has rebuilt and improved its rocket and missiles arsenal. Additionally, Nasrallah and members of Hezbollah have increasingly become politically active and are represented by elected deputies in Lebanon's cabinet and parliament.
Focus of Operations
Lebanon, Israel, West Bank, Gaza, Syria. Hezbollah also operates fundraising networks throughout North and Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
- July 12, 2006: Hezbollah operatives kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two others stationed in Israeli sovereign territory. The soldiers' remains are returned to Israel in July 2008.
- March 12, 2002: Shooting attack against Israeli vehicles near the Israeli-Lebanese border: six killed, seven injured.
- October 7, 2000: Hezbollah operatives abduct an Israeli businessman and three Israeli soldiers patrolling Israel's border with Lebanon. The soldiers' remains and the businessman are returned to Israel in 2004.
- June 25, 1996: Truck bombing at the U.S. portion of the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia: 19 American Air Force personnel killed, 372 injured.
- July 18, 1994: Suicide bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires: 85 killed, approximately 300 injured.
- March 17, 1992: Suicide bombing at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires: 29 killed, more than 240 injured.
- June 14, 1985: Hijacking of TWA Flight 847: U.S. Navy diver killed.
- September 20, 1984: Car bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut: 24 killed.
- December 4, 1984: Hijacking of Kuwait Airlines plane: four killed.
- April 12, 1984: Bombing of a restaurant near the U.S. Air Force Base in Torrejon, Spain: 18 U.S. servicemen killed, 83 injured.
- October 23, 1983: Truck bombing at the multinational force barracks in Beirut: 241 American military personnel killed, 58 French paratroopers killed.
- April 18, 1983: Suicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut: 63 killed (including 17 Americans).
- Founder: Ali Akbar Motashemi
- Secretary General: Hasan Nasrallah
- Deputy Secretary General: Naim Qassem
- Former Secretary General: Abbas Musawi (killed in a car bombing in southern Lebanon on February 16, 1992)
- Former Secretary General: Shubhi al-Tufayli
- Former Operations Chief: Imad Mughniyah (killed in a car bombing in Damascus on February 13, 2008)
- Former Spiritual Leader: Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah (deceased July 4, 2010)
Hezbollah espouses an extremist interpretation of Shi’i Islam that was promulgated by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In recent years, Hezbollah has emerged in Lebanon as a political entity by serving as a proponent of Shi'i interests in the electoral process.
Hezbollah was originally formed to drive the Israeli military out of southern Lebanon and to establish an Islamic state encompassing Lebanon and Israel. According to its 1985 platform, the conflict with Israel "is not only limited to the IDF presence in Lebanon" but to "the complete destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of Islamic rule over Jerusalem."
Hezbollah pioneered the use of suicide bombings in the Middle East. In recent years, Hezbollah has launched rocket attacks and favored paramilitary operations and kidnappings against civilian and military targets.
Iran's elite military unit – the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – supports Hezbollah with training, weapons and financial support. The IRGC's special operations branch provides Hezbollah with $100-$200 million in funding every year and has allegedly trained Hezbollah fighters in various military tactics, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Hezbollah also receives diplomatic, political and logistical support from Syria, according to the U.S. State Department. Syria reportedly supplies Hezbollah with a quarter of the terrorist organization's arsenal of mid-and long-range missiles.
Hezbollah maintains an operational presence in the U.S. that uses funds raised through criminal activities to help finance the organization’s terrorist activities. Hezbollah also maintains an extensive infrastructure throughout Europe that provides logistical and financial support and has garnered funds through front companies in Africa and the regional diamond trade. Additionally, the terrorist group raises revenues in Latin America through drug-trafficking, money laundering, forging travel documents and weapons and people smuggling.
- Hezbollah maintains an operational presence in the U.S. that raises funds through criminal activities – including credit card fraud, illegal drug trade, cigarette smuggling and theft – to help finance the organization’s terrorist activities abroad.
- In December 2004, the U.S. State Department designated Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s satellite television channel and broadcast station, as a terrorist entity and placed it on the Terrorism Exclusion List in December 2004. Two years later, the U.S. Treasury Department added Al-Manar, along with its parent company, the Lebanese Media Group, to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist List.
- The U.S. designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 following the series of Hezbollah attacks against Americans overseas. Hezbollah was listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2001.
- Prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Hezbollah was responsible for the deaths of more Americans around the world than any other terrorist organization. In the 1980s, Hezbollah carried out a series of terrorist attacks against Americans overseas, including attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon and a military housing complex in Saudi Arabia.