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LEBANON - Party of God, May 2003

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "Party of God"

A History of Hezbollah

Negotiating With Hezbollah

Lebanon Country Profile

Hezbollah, the Region and U.S. Policy




1992-2001: Global Terror
Civil WarHezbollah EmergesTarget AmericaGlobal TerrorThe Fate of Hezbollah
Geographical Key
A Top Terrorist

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's General Secretary, speaking at a recent Hezbollah gathering. Nasrallah has led Hezbollah for more than a decade.
The dark side of Hezbollah's international operations, sometimes referred to as the "external security apparatus," is often associated with Imad Mugniyah. Mugniyah tops the list of Lebanese suspects wanted by Israeli intelligence agents. Allegedly trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mugniyah is suspected of involvement in major terrorist attacks attributed to Hezbollah, including the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983 and the hijacking of the TWA flight in 1985.

According to intelligence analysts, Mugniyah commands a network of agents throughout the world, from South America and the United States to Europe and West Africa. He is believed to be a liaison between Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas (a Palestinian organization that the U.S. State Department considers a terrorist entity), and to have met with Bin Laden operatives.

A Hezbollah flag depicting Sheikh Nasrallah

A Hezbollah flag depicting Sheikh Nasrallah with a raised gun. Under Nasrallah's leadership, Hezbollah has become one of the most powerful political parties in Lebanon's Parliament.
The Mugniyah connection raised suspicions that Hezbollah had participated in attacks against U.S. targets, including the bombing of the U.S. military base at Khobar Towers in 1996, the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the strike against the USS Cole in Yemen three years ago.The United States now offers the same reward for Mugniyah's capture as it does for bin Laden's -- $25 million.

Hezbollah's 1,500 guerrillas continued to fight against Israeli soldiers on the southern border of Lebanon through 2000. An estimated 900 Israeli soldiers died in the clashes. Responding to a popular outcry in Israel against the occupation, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barakevacuated troops from Lebanon in May 2000. This marked the official end of Israel's 18-year occupation and enlarged Hezbollah's reputation as a guarantor of Lebanon's independence, which, in turn, increased the party's popularity even more.

NEXT - 2001-Present: Hezbollah's Future

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