OCTOBER 8, 2008 – As reported by the Palestinian on-line news agency Ma’an News, a new military group calling themselves the Hezbollah Brigades will begin operating in the Palestinian areas as a force against occupation, according to a recent statement.
The group will be made up of fighters from several other resistance factions that the statement accuses of ‘abandoning resistance.’ Their stated aims are to ‘fight the enemies of Islam,’ in the interests of the Palestinian national project.
We are a new Islamic Sunni group which has nothing to do with the political process,’ said the statement, ‘but we will not contradict with public Palestinian interests.’
With regards to the group’s ties with Hezbollah in Lebanon, the statement asserted that the group follows Hezbollah’s steps in resistance, but has no ties with the Lebanese Hezbollah. ‘All we have in common is Islam and our admiration of their resistance methods,’ the statement explained.
The group stressed in their statement that they would not be involved in the ongoing inter-Palestinian rivalry. They also pledged to adopt the case of political prisoners, detained by factions in the West Bank and Gaza as one of their top priorities.
The statement concluded with a slogan used by Lebanese Hezbollah; ‘death to Israel, and death to the United States.’
Unnamed sources told Israel’s DEBKAfile.com that ‘the Lebanese Hezbollah is behind the new group, saying it aims to lure members of all the established Palestinian terrorist groups on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for ad hoc operations against Israel.’
In Iraq, according to The Long War Journal, a news and information service that defines itself as dedicated to providing original and accurate reporting and analysis of the Global War on Terror,
The Hezbollah Brigades, or the Kata’ib Hezbollah, has been active for more than a year and has increased its profile by conducting attacks against US and Iraqi forces using the deadly explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, and improvised rocket-assisted mortars, which have been described as flying improvised explosive devices. The Hezbollah Brigades has posted videos of these attacks on the Internet.
Multinational Forces Iraq said the group receives support from Iran and is an “offshoot of Iranian-trained Special Groups,’ Sergeant Susan James, a Public Affairs NCO for Multinational Forces Iraq told The Long War Journal in July. The US military has referred to the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the Special Groups. The Hezbollah Brigades is described as ‘a separate and independent organization from Special Groups,’ said James.
‘We believe that Hezbollah Brigades does receive support from Iran,’ James said. ‘That support likely includes funding, training, logistics, and material.’ Iran’s Qods Force funds, trains, arms, and supports Mahdi Army operatives to facilitate attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces. ‘They are also believed to receive guidance or direction from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force,’ Multinational Forces Iraq stated in the latest press release on the capture of nine Hezbollah Brigades operatives in Baghdad.’