Kata'ib Hezbollah

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Kata'ib Hezbollah
Participant in Iraq War
Iraqi Civil War (2014–present)
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 Iraqi nationalism[citation needed]
Shia Islamism
Velayat-e Faqih
  • Saraya al-Dafa al-Shaabi[1]
Leaders Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (Jamal al-Ibrahimi)[2]
Size 2,000 (2010; at most)[3]
10,000 (June 2014)
Over 30,000 (December 2014 claim)[4]
Part of Popular Mobilization Forces
Originated as Special Groups

State allies

  •  Iraq
  •  Iran
  •  Syria[5]

Non-state allies


State opponents

Non-state opponents

Battles and wars

Iraq War
Iraqi Civil War (2014–present)

Syrian Civil War

Designated as a terrorist organisation by
 United States[22]
 United Arab Emirates[23]

Kata'ib Hezbollah (Arabic: كتائب حزب الله‎, Brigades of the Party of God[24]) or Hezbollah Brigades is an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group that is supported by Iran. It has been active in the ongoing Iraqi Civil War[25] and the Syrian Civil War.[26] During the Iraq War, the group fought against American invasion forces.[24][27]


The group's structure is secretive, but Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Iran's Quds Force and former Badr Organization member, is known to be a senior figure in the group.[2][28] The group receives training and funding from the Quds Force.[24][27] The US State department also claimed Lebanon-based Hezbollah provided weapons and training for the group.[29] It came to prominence in 2007 for attacks against American and coalition forces,[24][30] and was known for uploading its videos of attacks on American forces on the internet.[31]

In Summer 2008 US and Iraqi Forces launched a crackdown against Kata'ib Hezbollah and the "Special Groups", the US military term for Iran-backed militias in Iraq. 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".[32][33]

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.[30]

In December, 2009, the group intercepted the unencrypted video feed of MQ-1 Predator UAVs above Iraq.[34]

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.[35]

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.[36]

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.[37][38]

Post-US withdrawal[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.[26]

Wathiq al-Batat, a former Kata'ib Hezbollah leader, announced the creation of a new Shia militia, the Mukhtar Army, on 4 February 2013, saying its aim is to defend Shiites and help the government combat terrorism.[39]

In 2014 the group began taking a role in the fight against ISIL in Iraq.[25] Also in 2014, they and six other predominantly Shia Iraqi paramilitary groups formed the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).[40] Since October 2016, Kata'ib Hezbollah along with the Iraqi army and other PMF has taken part in the Battle of Mosul against ISIL.[41] They have been, alongside other PMF, active in fighting around Tal Afar, severing ISIL's link from Mosul and Tal Afar to the rest of their territory.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.ahewar.org/s.asp?aid=435424&r=0
  2. ^ a b "The Evolution of Iran's Special Groups in Iraq". Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  3. ^ Group Profile Kata'ib Hezbollah (page 7), 5 March 2010
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Leith Fadel (19 October 2015). "Two Brigades of Kata'eb Hezbollah Arrive in Aleppo Amid the Presence of General Suleimani". Al-Masdar News. 
  6. ^ http://www.css.ethz.ch/en/services/digital-library/articles/article.html/9f6a70c3-fa15-4c4b-b9fe-bc4a5c7dce3f
  7. ^ https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/uploads/Documents/pubs/PF138Appendices/PF138_Appendix_2.pdf
  8. ^ https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/09/us_supported_hezboll.php
  9. ^ http://www.pressreader.com/israel/jerusalem-post/20180620/281694025499439
  10. ^ Iraq after America: Strongmen, Sectarians, Resistance. P. 279
  11. ^ https://businessinsider.com/in-iraq-iran-is-following-the-same-strategy-it-used-to-rescue-the-assad-regime-in-syria-2014-12
  12. ^ http://www.almaalomah.com/2016/04/24/43168/
  13. ^ a b Roggio, Bill (10 September 2014). "US aided Hezbollah Brigades in breaking ISIL siege of Iraqi town". Long War Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Morris, Loveday (2014-10-29). "Iraq's victory over militants in Sunni town underlines challenges government faces". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  15. ^ Loveday Morris in Thuluyah for the Washington Post (23 September 2014). "The Iraqi town where former foes are combining to fight Islamic State". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  16. ^ Roggio, Bill; Weiss, Caleb (19 October 2015). "Iraqi Army, Shiite militias report success in Baiji". Long War Journal. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  17. ^ http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/kataib-hezbollah-announce-full-control-baiji-hours/
  18. ^ Alice Fordham (2015-04-07). "After Retaking Iraqi City, Shiite Militias Accused Of Targeting Sunnis : Parallels". NPR. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  19. ^ Alessandria Masi (2015-02-15). "Islamic State: Iraq Battle Against ISIS For Tikrit Led By Iran-Backed Shiite Militia Forces". International Business Times. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  20. ^ Leith Fadel. "Two Brigades of Kata'eb Hezbollah Arrive in Aleppo Amid the Presence of General Suleimani". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  21. ^ Leith Fadel (1 February 2016). "Syrian Army, Hezbollah launch preliminary offensive in northern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  22. ^ https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
  23. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141117230142/http://www.wam.ae/ar/news/emirates-arab-international/1395272465559.html
  24. ^ a b c d John Pike. "Kata'ib Hizballah (KH) (Battalions of the Party of God)". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ a b al-Salhy, Suadad (10 April 2013). "Iraqi Shi'ite militants start to acknowledge role in Syria". Reuters. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Daniel Cassman. "Kata'ib Hezbollah | Mapping Militant Organizations". Web.stanford.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  28. ^ http://www.jamestown.org/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=36109#.Vy1PUNQrKt8
  29. ^ Google News US puts sanctions on Iraq Shiite group, Iran adviser, 1 July 2009, AFP
  30. ^ a b "U.S. declares Iraq-based group foreign terrorist organization". Reuters. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2009. 
  31. ^ Roggio, Bill (21 July 2008). "Hezbollah Brigades propaganda specialist captured in Baghdad". Long War Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  32. ^ Google News US says five Iranian proxy insurgents held in Iraq, 27 September 2008 Archived 3 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  33. ^ Roggio, Bill (21 July 2008). "Iraqi, US forces keep pressure on the Mahdi Army". Long War Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  34. ^ Hoffman, Michael; Reed, John; Gould, Joe (20 December 2009), "Fixes on the way for nonsecure UAV links", Navy Times, retrieved 21 December 2009 
  35. ^ "Five killed as U.S., Iraqi troops raid border village". Reuters. 12 February 2010. 
  36. ^ "Iran-backed force threatens U.S. Iraq bases – general". Reuters. 13 July 2010. 
  37. ^ Jakes, Lara; Abdul-Zahra, Qassim (July 1, 2011). "Shiite militias increase attacks on US troops". Telegram & Gazette. Associated Press. 
  38. ^ "US officials name 3 Iraqi militias armed by Iran to kill yanks". Iran Times. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  39. ^ "Iraq's Hezbollah forms new militia to frighten protesters: Sunni leader". Al Arabiya. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  40. ^ Mansour, Renad; Jabar, Faleh A. (28 April 2017). "The Popular Mobilization Forces and Iraq's Future". Carnegie Middle East Center. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  41. ^ Reuters, 29 October, 2016, Iran-backed Shi'ite militias to join assault near Mosul on new front
  42. ^ "Iraqi Shi'ite forces aim to clear border strip with Syria". Reuters. 13 December 2016. 

External links[edit]