Kata'ib Hezbollah

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Kata'ib Hezbollah
Participant in Iraq War
Syrian Civil War
Kata'ib Hezbollah logo.svg
Kata'ib Hezbollah flag.svg
Hezbollah Brigades logo (and flag) based on Hezbollah and IRGC logos
Active October 2003–present
Ideology Shia Islamism
Velayat-e Faqih
Leaders Jamal al-Ibrahimi
Headquarters Middle and Southern Iraq

2,000 (2010; at most)[1]
10,000 (June 2014)

Over 40,000 (December 2014) [2]
Part of Popular Mobilization Forces
Originated as Special Groups


InfoboxHez.PNG Hezbollah
Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq
Promised Day Brigades
Other Special Groups
Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas

Opponents Islamic State
For other uses, see Hezbollah (disambiguation).

Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) (Arabic: كتائب حزب الله‎) or Hezbollah Battalions is an Iraqi Shi'a paramilitary group active in the Iraqi insurgency and Syrian Civil War.[4][5] It was originally an Iran backed insurgent group that fought against American and coalition forces during the Iraq War.[6]


The group was formed 4 months before the beginning of the Iraq War and carrying out their first attack in October 2003. It was said to be an offshoot of the "Special Groups", which were the Iranian backed elements of the Mahdi Army. Katai'b Hezbollah was a separate and independent organization and not part of the Mahdi Army and its Special Groups. According to the American forces it received funding, training, logistics, and material from Iran's Quds Force, claims which were denied by Iran.[7] Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Iran's Quds Force is known to be a senior adviser to Kata'ib Hezbollah. The US State department also claimed Lebanon-based Hezbollah provided weapons and training for the group.[8] The group was known for uploading its videos of attacks on American forces on the internet.[9]

In Summer 2008 US and Iraqi Forces launched a crackdown against Kata'ib Hezbollah (and the Special Groups). At least 30 of its members were captured during those months. Many of the group's leaders were captured and US officials claimed that "as result much of the leadership fled to Iran".[10][11]

On 2 July 2009 the group was added to the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The group was held responsible for numerous IED bombings, mortar, rocket and RPG attacks as well as sniper operations, targeting US and Iraqi Forces and the Green Zone, including a November 2008 rocket attack that killed two U.N. workers.[6]

In December, 2009, the group intercepted the unencrypted video feed of MQ-1 Predator UAVs above Iraq.[12]

12 February 2010 a firefight with suspected members of Kata'ib Hezbollah occurred 265 km (165 mi) southeast of Baghdad in a village near the Iranian border, the U.S. military said. Twelve people were arrested, it said. "The joint security team was fired upon by individuals dispersed in multiple residential buildings ... members of the security team returned fire, killing individuals assessed to be enemy combatants," the military said in a statement. The Provincial Iraqi officials said many of the dead were innocent bystanders, and demanded compensation. They said eight people were killed.[13]

On 13 July 2010 General Ray Odierno named Kata'ib Hezbollah as being behind threats against American bases in Iraq. "In the last couple weeks there's been an increased threat ... and so we've increased our security on some of our bases," Odierno told reporters at a briefing in Baghdad.[14]

In July 2011, an Iraqi intelligence official estimated the group's size at 1,000 fighters and said the militants were paid between $300 to $500 per month.[15][16]

Recent activity[edit]

In 2013 Kata'ib Hezbollah and other Iraqi Shia militias acknowledged sending fighters to Syria to fight alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, against the Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow him in the Syrian Civil War.[5]

Wathiq al-Batat, a former Kata'ib Hezbollah leader, announced the creation of a new Shia milita, Mukhtar Army, on 4 February 2013, saying its aim is to defend Shiites and help the government combat terrorism.[17]

In 2014 the group began taking a prominent role in the fight against ISIL in Iraq, and it was reported that it had received close air support from the U.S. Air Force during the Iranian-led intervention in Iraq.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Group Profile Kata'ib Hezbollah (page 7), 5 March 2010
  2. ^ Ryan, Missy; Morris, Loveday (27 December 2014). "The U.S. and Iran are aligned in Iraq against the Islamic State — for now". Washington Post. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/two-brigades-of-kataeb-hezbollah-arrive-in-aleppo-amid-the-presence-of-general-suleimani
  4. ^ a b Roggio, Bill (10 September 2014). "US aided Hezbollah Brigades in breaking Islamic State siege of Iraqi town". Long War Journal. Public Multimedia. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b al-Salhy, Suadad (10 April 2013). "Iraqi Shi'ite militants start to acknowledge role in Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "U.S. declares Iraq-based group foreign terrorist organization". Reuters. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  7. ^ Roggio, Bill (31 July 2008). "Coalition forces capture Hezbollah Brigades operative in Baghdad". Long War Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Google News US puts sanctions on Iraq Shiite group, Iran adviser, 1 July 2009, AFP
  9. ^ Roggio, Bill (21 July 2008). "Hezbollah Brigades propaganda specialist captured in Baghdad". Long War Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Google News US says five Iranian proxy insurgents held in Iraq, 27 September 2008 Archived 3 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Roggio, Bill (21 July 2008). "Iraqi, US forces keep pressure on the Mahdi Army". Long War Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Hoffman, Michael; Reed, John; Gould, Joe (20 December 2009), "Fixes on the way for nonsecure UAV links", Navy Times, retrieved 21 December 2009 
  13. ^ "Five killed as U.S., Iraqi troops raid border village". Reuters. 12 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "Iran-backed force threatens U.S. Iraq bases - general". Reuters. 13 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Printer Friendly Version". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "English youth incinerates Iranian he wrongly thought was preying on kids". Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Iraq’s Hezbollah forms new militia to frighten protesters: Sunni leader". Al Arabiya. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 

External links[edit]