Based on the report "Hezbollah: Portrait of a Terrorist Organization" by the “Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center”, 29 Nov 2012

 Hezbollah - International terrorist organization

 

Hezbollah terror attack on Israelis in Bulgaria (Photos: Avigdor Stern, Courtesy ZAKA)

Hezbollah has been a terror organization acting under Iranian auspices since its inception. The terror attacks of Iran and Hezbollah, which have been increasing in the past few years around the world, present a direct threat to all Western countries, especially to Israeli and Jewish representatives, diplomats and tourists around the world.

Since its establishment in Lebanon almost thirty years ago and the bombing attack of the US Marines and French barracks in Beirut (1983), Hezbollah has used a wide range of methods to carry out terrorist attacks in numerous regions. Hezbollah’s terrorist activities are an integral part of Iran’s terror policies, which utilizes Hezbollah as its central proxy organization along with the Iranian "Al-Qods Force," which is responsible for attacks abroad, together with other Iranian national bodies. Iran’s terrorist attacks are directed primarily against Israeli and Jewish targets, the US and Western states, opponents of Hezbollah and Syria in Lebanon and Arab regimes hostile to Iran and the “resistance camp” lead by Iran.

To execute its attacks abroad, Hezbollah operates a special unit called "The Unit for Overseas Operations", the existence of which Hezbollah has repeatedly denied. The chief commander of this unit is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who personally authorizes all terror attacks carried out abroad. Under him stands Mustafa Badr al-Din, head of Hezbollah’s operations command, who replaced Imad Mughniyeh, the terrorist mastermind who was killed in Syria in 2008. Badr al-Din was charged in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. Under Badr al-Din stands the Head of Overseas Operations, Talal Hamiyah, who commands the operative units in Lebanon and abroad.

In June 2011, after a thorough investigation which was based on strong and reliable testimony, the prosecutor of the "Special International Tribunal for Lebanon" charged senior Hezbollah leader Badr al-Din along with 3 other Hezbollah members with direct involvement in the brutal murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 21 other people. The act was described by the UN Security Council as a "despicable terrorist act… that is a threat to world peace and security."

Since 2008, Hezbollah has taken an active role in the terror attacks against Israel orchestrated by Iran. The latest attack (July 2012) on a tourist bus in Bulgaria in which the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israeli tourists were killed, was the first significant "success" in the current wave of terrorist attacks, after a series of attempts in a number of countries that failed or were foiled:

1.    Nigeria, May 2013: Local security forces uncovered a terrorist cell of Hezbollah which was planning to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets in the country and in other regions in Western Africa. The authorities arrested three Lebanese citizens carrying anti-tank shells, anti-tank mines, grenade launchers, submachine guns, hand grenades, tens of thousands of bullets and explosives.

2.    Bulgaria, 18 July 2012: A terrorist detonated a bomb on an Israeli tourist bus in the vacation town of Burgas, Bulgaria. In the attack, five Israeli citizens and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed, as was the terrorist that committed the attack. In addition, 36 Israeli citizens were injured, three of them seriously.

3.    Cyprus, 7 July 2012: Cypriot authorities arrested a 24 year-old Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist in Limassol, who collected information on Israeli tourists arriving on flights to the island. The terrorist, who admitted belonging to Hezbollah during his questioning, held a Swedish passport and collected intelligence in preparation for an attack on Israeli tourists visiting the island.

4.    Thailand, 13 January 2012: Thai authorities uncovered substantial infrastructure built by Hezbollah over many years to carry out terror attacks. Local security officials arrested a Hezbollah terrorist named Hussein Atris in the Bangkok airport. Atris held Swedish and Lebanese passports. Another Hezbollah terrorist, who also held a Swedish passport, evaded arrest by Thai authorities. From information provided during Atris’ questioning, 4.5 tons of chemical materials to be used in the manufacture of explosives were seized in a commercial building in Bangkok. A month later, on February 14, 2012, the Qods Force attempted another attack in Bangkok, this time using a magnet to attach an IED to the car of an Israeli diplomat. This attempt was also prevented.

5.    Turkey, 26 May 2011: Eight Turkish citizens were injured in the attempted assassination of the Israeli Consul in Istanbul. This assassination attempt, led by al-Qods Force, was made after the consul was tracked by three Hezbollah members. Preceding this attempt were a number of attempts by Iran and Hezbollah to strike Israeli targets in Turkey in 2009 and 2010.

6.    Azerbaijan, May 2008: A cell of two Hezbollah terrorists was caught during advanced preparations for an attack on the Israeli embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan. The terrorists – Ali Karaki, from the Unit for Overseas Operations of Hezbollah, and Ali Najem al-Din, an explosives expert – underwent advanced training in Iran before departing to Baku, and carried with them Iranian passports. During their arrest, security forces discovered pistols with silencers, explosives, cameras, binoculars, and photographs of the Israeli embassy in their vehicle. The two were tried and sentenced to 15 years in prison. This attempt was revealed after the prevention of previous attempts of the Iranian al-Qods force during the same year to carry out an attack on the Eurovision contest which was held in Baku and to harm Jewish figures in the country.

In addition to all these, in the past two years, Hezbollah and Iran have been deeply involved in the massacre being perpetrated by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad against its citizens. Hezbollah assists the Syrian regime in training Alawite fighters and even has fighters actively involved in combat in the field. Tens of Hezbollah fighters have been killed in the fighting. Iran and Hezbollah are intent on preserving the regime of Bashar Assad at any price, as a critical piece in their radical axis.

It is important to note that judicial findings over the years, including judicial decisions of the US, Germany and Switzerland, found that Hezbollah was directly involved in terror actions that caused the deaths of many people. Indeed, as a result of Hezbollah’s terrorist action over the years, the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have included Hezbollah or its parts of the organization on their list of terrorist organizations.