Kata’ib Hizballah flag
Iraqi Shia militant group Kata’ib Hizballah (KH) poses a high threat to US diplomatic and military personnel in Iraq and Syria because of its access to areas with a US presence and its longstanding hostility toward US and allied forces, as demonstrated by its history of attacks and anti-American rhetoric. Founded in 2007, KH seeks to establish an Iran-aligned government in Iraq, expel US and coalition forces from the country, and advance Iranian interests throughout the Middle East.
KH has also taken part in combat operations against ISIS in Iraq and anti-government forces in Syria. It staffs the 45th, 46th, and 47th Brigades in the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee, which formed in 2014 to fight ISIS and became an official part of Iraq’s security apparatus in 2016.
Based primarily in Iraq and Syria; also possibly operates in Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia
Up to 10,000
TACTICS AND TARGETS
KH uses its media network to spread anti-US and pro-Iran propaganda within Iraq; attacks US personnel and facilities using improvised explosive devices, rockets, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS); and kidnaps and assassinates its domestic rivals. The group has a variety of other weapons and equipment, including armored vehicles, artillery, explosively formed penetrators, man-portable air defense systems, missiles, and sniper rifles. KH has received extensive training, funding, logistic support, weapons, and intelligence from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Qods Force, which has some influence over KH operations. It has also received training and weapons from Lebanese Hizballah.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State department designated KH as a foreign terrorist organization in July 2009. KH’s overall leader, Ahmad al-Hamidawi, was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in February 2020.