Kata’ib Hizballah (KH)
Battalions of the Party of God
Kata'ib Hizballah fi al-Iraq
Hizballah Brigades in Iraq
Hizballah Brigades-Iraq of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq
Islamic Resistance in Iraq
Katibat Abu Fathel Al A'abas
Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali
Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) is an Iraqi terrorist organization responsible for numerous terrorist acts against Iraqi, U.S., and other targets in Iraq since 2007. Kataib Hezbollah is reported to receive funding, logistics, and weapons such as improvised rocket-assisted mortars from Iran. The group also is believed to receive guidance or direction from the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Kata’ib Hizballah is a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western establishment and jihadist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S, and Coalition targets in Iraq. Kata’ib Hizballah has ideological ties to Lebanese Hizballah and gained notoriety in 2007 with attacks on U.S. and Coalition forces designed to undermine the establishment of a democratic, viable Iraqi state. The organization has been responsible for numerous violent terrorist attacks since 2007, including improvised explosive device bombings, rocket propelled grenade attacks, and sniper operations. Kata’ib Hizballah also targeted the International Zone in Baghdad in a November 29, 2008 rocket attack that killed two UN workers. In addition, KH has threatened the lives of Iraqi politicians and civilians that support the legitimate political process in Iraq.
As of early 2007, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a lieutenant of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the IRGC-QF, formed a Shia militia group employing instructors from Hizballah to prepare this group and certain Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) Special Groups for attacks against Coalition Forces. The groups received training in guerilla warfare, handling bombs and explosives, and employing weapons--to include missiles, mortars, and sniper rifles. In another instance as of September 2007, al-Muhandis led networks that moved ammunition and weapons--to include explosively formed penetrators (EFPs)--from Iran to Iraq, distributing them to certain JAM militias to target Coalition Forces. As of mid-February 2007, al-Muhandis also ran a weapons smuggling network that moved sniper rifles through the Iran-Iraq border to Shia militias that targeted Coalition Forces.
Al-Muhandis also provided logistical support for attacks against Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces conducted by JAM Special Groups and certain Shia militias. In one instance, in April 2008, al-Muhandis facilitated the entry of trucks--containing mortars, Katyusha rockets, EFPs, and other explosive devices--from Iran to Iraq that were then delivered to JAM Special Groups in Sadr City, Baghdad. Additionally, al-Muhandis organized numerous weapons shipments to supply JAM Special Groups who were fighting Iraqi Security Forces in the Basrah and Maysan provinces during late March-early April 2008.
In addition to facilitating weapons shipments to JAM Special Groups and certain Shia militias, al-Muhandis facilitated the movement and training of Iraq-based Shia militia members to prepare them to attack Coalition Forces. In one instance in November 2007, al-Muhandis sent JAM Special Groups members to Iran to undergo a training course in using sniper rifles. Upon completion of the training course, the JAM Special Groups members had planned to return to Iraq and carry out special operations against Coalition Forces. Additionally, in early March 2007, al-Muhandis sent certain Shia militia members to Iran for training in guerilla warfare, light arms, marksmanship, improvised explosive devices (IED) and anti-aircraft missiles to increase the combat ability of the militias to fight Coalition Forces.
On 02 July 2009 the U.S. Department of the Treasury targeted Iran-based individual Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iraq-based Shia extremist group Kata'ib Hizballah for threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and the Government of Iraq. Al-Muhandis and Kata'ib Hizballah have committed, directed, supported, or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces and as a result are designated today under Executive Order (E.O.) 13438, which targets insurgent and militia groups and their supporters. "These designations play a critical role in our efforts to protect Coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, and civilians from those who use violence against innocents to intimidate and to undermine a free and prosperous Iraq," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis is an advisor to Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran's Qods Force, the arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for providing material support to Lebanon-based Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. Further, the IRGC-Qods Force provides lethal support to Kata'ib Hizballah and other Iraqi Shia militia groups who target and kill Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. The IRGC-Qods Force was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the Treasury Department on October 25, 2007.
On June 24, 2009 Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg designated Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (INA). Deputy Secretary Steinberg also designated KH under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224, as amended. The Department of Treasury has also designated Kata’ib Hizballah under Executive Order 13438. The Department of State took these actions in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, and other relevant U.S. agencies.
These designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business. The consequences of these designations include a prohibition against U.S. persons providing material support or resources to, or engaging in other transactions with KH, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U.S. persons.
Between March 2007 and June 2008, Baghdad-based Kata'ib Hizballah cell members participated in multiple rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and improvised rocket-assisted mortar (IRAM) attacks against U.S. forces. These attacks included a May 13, 2008 RPG-29 attack on a U.S. tank located in Sha'ab, Iraq, and a February 19, 2008 IRAM attack on a U.S. base near Rustamiya, Iraq. A February 19, 2008 rocket attack in the Rustamiya area resulted in one U.S. civilian killed and injuries to U.S. civilian and Coalition Forces personnel.
As of 2008, Kata'ib Hizballah was funded by the IRGC-Qods Force and received weapons training and support from Lebanon-based Hizballah. In one instance, Hizballah provided training--to include building and planting IEDs and training in coordinating small and medium arms attacks, sniper attacks, mortar attacks, and rocket attacks--to Kata'ib Hizballah members in Iran.
Recordings made by Kata'ib Hizballah for release to the public as propaganda videos further demonstrate that Kata'ib Hizballah conducted attacks against Coalition Forces. In mid-August 2008, Coalition Forces seized four hard drives from a storage facility associated with a Kata'ib Hizballah media facilitator. The four hard drives included approximately 1,200 videos showing Kata'ib Hizballah's sophisticated planning and attack tactics, techniques, and procedures, and Kata'ib Hizballah's use of the most lethal weapons--including RPG-29s, IRAMs, and EFPs--against Coalition Forces in Iraq.
One of the hard drives contained 35 attack videos edited with the Kata'ib Hizballah logo in the top right corner. Additionally, between February and September 2008, Al-Manar in Beirut, Lebanon, broadcast several videos showing Kata'ib Hizballah conducting multiple attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq.
Immediately preceding the Government of Iraq's approval of the United States-Iraq security agreement in late November 2008, Kata'ib Hizballah posted a statement that the group would continue fighting Coalition Forces and threatened to conduct attacks against the Government of Iraq if it signed the security agreement with the United States.
As deputy commander for the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), Jamal Jaafar al-Ibrahimi, known by his nom de guerre Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, holds an official Iraqi government position. Mohandes is also the leader of Kata’ib Hezbollah, the group accused of carrying out the May 14 drone attack. Both Mohandes and Kata’ib Hezbollah were designated as terrorist by the US Treasury in 2009 for having committed, directed, supported, or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. Mohandes is the glaring example of US failure in Iraq. As a member of government, Mohandes has access to US intelligence, training, and equipment. His government paycheck allows him to oversee the distribution of funds to allied militias. US government officials have concluded that the 14 May 2019 drone attack on the east-west Saudi pipeline was launched from southern Iraq, having previously identified Yemen as the launch site. According to the US government, the May 14 drone attack was likely launched by Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia and designated terrorist group created, funded, and directed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards – Quds Force (IRGC-QF). The attack therefore means that Iranian proxies have attacked Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, from two different fronts.
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