Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Kata'ib Hizballah (KH)

aka Hizballah Brigades; Hizballah Brigades in Iraq; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq; Kata'ib Hezbollah; Khata'ib Hezbollah; Khata'ib Hizballah; Khattab Hezballah; Hizballah Brigades-Iraq of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq; Islamic Resistance in Iraq; Kata'ib Hizballah Fi al-Iraq; Katibat Abu Fathel al-A'abas; Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali; Katibut Karbalah

Description: Formed in 2006 and designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on July 2, 2009, Kata'ib Hizballah (KH) is a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western outlook and violent extremist ideology. Prior to the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011, the group conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S., and Coalition targets in Iraq, and threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians supporting the legitimate political process in Iraq. The group is notable for its extensive use of media operations and propaganda, including filming and releasing videos of attacks. KH has ideological ties to and receives support from Iran.

Activities: KH has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks since 2007, including improvised explosive device bombings, rocket-propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations. In 2007, KH gained notoriety for its attacks against U.S. and Coalition Forces in Iraq. In June 2011, five U.S. soldiers were killed in a rocket attack in Baghdad when KH assailants fired between three and five rockets at U.S. military base Camp Victory. The group remained active in 2015, participating in fighting in Syria in support of the Assad regime, and in Iraq against ISIS. In June and July 2015, the group broadcast its recruitment contact information and an appeal for donations on a pro-Iran channel and on YouTube in an effort to recruit fighters to Syria and Iraq.

In 2016, the group continued to fight ISIS by joining the Iraqi Army in the Battle of Mosul. KH ultimately advanced farther west of Mosul to clear the Syria/Iraq border, while other Iranian-backed Shia militias continued fighting closer to the city.

Strength: Membership is estimated as at least 400 individuals.

Location/Area of Operation: Predominately Iraq-based, but also participates in fighting alongside pro-Assad regime forces in Syria. Traditionally, KH conducted the majority of its operations in Baghdad, but its operations have since expanded into other parts of Iraq.

Funding and External Aid: KH is heavily dependent on support from Iran.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.