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Hezbollah (حزب الله, "Party of Allah"; sometimes spelled Hizbullah, Hezbullah, or Hezballah) is a Shi'a Islamic terrorist organization based in Lebanon. Founded in 1982, its primary goal is the elimination of the state of Israel. Its current Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, has publicly stated: "if Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide." In 2004, the organization's privately controlled TV broadcast station Al-Manar was banned in France for inciting racial hatred and Holocaust denial.
Funded and armed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the group's first major terrorist attacks were the April 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing in which 63 people were killed and the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing in which 241 American military personnel were killed. While Iran is still the major source of their funding, they also receive financial backing from South America and U.S. law enforcement officials estimate that smugglers of illegal cigarettes in the United States provide millions of dollars to the group.
Armed with rockets with ranges varying from 13 to 100 kilometers, the group subjects Israel to constant cross-border bombardment; this led to the 2006 Lebanon War. Hezbollah claims that its attacks are aimed at military bases inside Israel, but most of the attacks are actually directed at civilian areas and have hit pedestrians, hospitals, schools and private homes.
In addition to their military operations, Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party. They hold 14 of the 128 seats in Lebanon's Parliament and 11 of 30 seats in the nation's cabinet.
- Hezbollah builds a Western base, From inside South America’s Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets U.S. By Pablo Gato and Robert Windrem, NBC News, May 9, 2007. Retrieved from MSNBC.com June 4 2007.
- ↑ It has been declared a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, Israel, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Australia. See:
- ↑ The Daily Star (Beirut) October 23, 2002
- ↑ Rocket Attacks on Civilians in Israel Are War Crimes 5 August 2006 "Israel/Lebanon: Hezbollah Must End Attacks on Civilians". Accessed 17 February 2008
- ↑ Hezbollah information from the Council on Foreign Relations