Hassan Nasrallah

Political Figure

Born: 31 August 1960
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon
Best known as: Leader of the Hezbollah party, 1992-
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is the secretary-general of the Lebanese group Hezbollah (or "Party of God"). Hezbollah is a Shi'ite Muslim military and political group, formed after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic regime in Lebanon. As a young man Nasrallah spent three years in an Islamic seminary in Najaf, Iraq, but left the country with the rise of Saddam Hussein. Upon his return to Lebanon he studied and taught at a religious school run by Abbas al-Masawi, who later led Hezbollah. Nasrallah became leader of Hezbollah after Masawi was killed in a 1993 Israeli attack. Nasrallah is a charismatic and incendiary speaker who has mixed a populist social welfare policy with a steady drumbeat of anti-Israel rhetoric and border warfare. Hezbollah's attacks on Israel in July of 2006, which prompted intense Israeli counterattacks in Lebanon, brought Nasrallah even more into the public eye.
Extra credit: Hezbollah is also spelled Hizbollah and Hizbullah... Nasrallah's oldest son, Muhammad Hadi, was killed while fighting Israeli forces in southern Lebanon in 1997... Most sources list 1960 as Nasrallah's birth date, with no day or month; the date of 31 August 1960 comes from a 2006 biography of Nasrallah by Sami Moubayed in World Politics Watch.

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