Kataib Hezbollah

Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) is an Iranian-sponsored, anti-American Shiite militia operating in Iraq with ancillary operations throughout Syria

Status:Top Alert – Entity designated / sanctioned for terror, WMD and human rights violation

Risk Level:99%

May harm your business future. Persons or entities that engage in transactions with this entity will be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action.

Working with this entity means supporting Iranian Regime, Regime Terrorist Activities & development of WMD

Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) is an Iranian-sponsored, anti-American Shiite militia operating in Iraq with ancillary operations throughout Syria. During the U.S.-led war in Iraq that began in 2003, KH earned a reputation for planting deadly roadside bombs and using improvised rocket-assisted mortars (IRAMs) to attack U.S. and coalition forces. According to U.S. diplomat Ali Khedery, KH is responsible for “some of the most lethal attacks against U.S. and coalition forces throughout the [U.S.-led war in Iraq].” The group’s leader, Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi—also known by his alias Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes—is the alleged mastermind behind the U.S. and French embassy bombings in Kuwait in 1983 and the assassination attempt on Kuwait’s emir in 1985. The group is suspected of involvement in extrajudicial killings and abductions in Iraq’s Anbar province, including the May 27, 2016, abduction of more than 70 Sunni boys and men from al-Sijir, and the murder of 49 men from Saqlawiyah. The group has gained exclusive control over the Jurf as-Sakr area west of Baghdad where it prevents displaced Sunni residents from returning and operates private prisons. In August 2019, Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow Michael Knights assessed that KH posed the greatest threat to U.S. interests in the country;

After the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, KH sent fighters to defend the Assad regime in Syria, allegedly at the behest of Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). As KH switched from fighting U.S. forces in Iraq to combating Sunni rebels and extremists in Iraq and Syria, KH has continued to prioritize its anti-American agenda, repeatedly boycotting battles against ISIS in which the U.S. participates;

In January 2018, KH, Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), and the Badr Organization joined with other Shiite units to form the Fatah Alliance political party ahead of Iraq’s May 2018 elections. The alliance won 47 parliamentary seats in the election, though the parliament soon after called for a manual recount. Notwithstanding, on June 11, the Fatah Alliance formed a coalition agreement with Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Alliance, which won the Iraq elections. This new coalition potentially places Fatah—and by extension KH—in a position to influence the new Iraq government. On July 13, 2018, Iraqi protesters in the country’s south attacked the political offices of KH and other Iran-backed groups as they called for Iran to withdraw from Iraq;

KH is the only Iraqi Shiite militia designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. It is also reportedly the “most secretive” and elite of Iraq’s predominantly Shiite militias. KH has long-standing ties to Iran’s external military branch, the IRGC-Quds Force, as well as to Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. KH has maintained a presence along the Iraqi-Syrian border since Iranian-backed Syrian and Iraqi militias captured the border town of al-Qaim from ISIS in November 2017;

According to the U.S. government, KH is primarily funded by the government of Iran and, specifically, Iran’s IRGC-Quds Force. In November 2014, wounded U.S. military veterans and family members of deceased U.S. soldiers filed a lawsuit against European banks for processing money from Tehran that bankrolled terrorist attacks in Iraq. According to the lawsuit, KH allegedly received money from Iran to finance terrorist attacks against U.S. soldiers. Syrians who fight in KH’s Syrian branch also receive their salaries directly from Iran;

KH has also reportedly secured funding through kidnap-and-ransom operations, reportedly taking hostage more than two dozen people in December 2015, including Qatari royals, and releasing the hostages more than a year later in exchange for a large payout. In April 2017, Qatari officials arrived in Baghdad carrying a bag with “millions of dollars” in ransom money, destined for KH and other Islamist groups, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an umbrella group that includes the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. Documents released in April 2018 revealed that the Qatari officials had paid $25 million of a $150 million ransom to KH in 2017;

KH and fellow PMF unit Liwa al-Tafuf have also taken charge of all PMF activity in western Anbar. Together, the two groups control smuggling and commerce across the Iraq-Syrian border, particularly around the al-Qaim-Abukamal crossing, providing a further source of income for the organizations;

According to the U.S. Department of State, KH is “a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western establishment and jihadist ideology.” The group is virulently anti-American and ideologically loyal to the Iranian regime;

Anti-American: During the U.S.-led war in Iraq, KH built its reputation by targeting U.S. personnel and interests and killing numerous U.S. soldiers in terrorist attacks. Since the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, KH has retained its anti-American ideology. KH’s website states that the group’s first goal “was and still remains: thwarting the American project in the region, defeat of the occupation, and expelling them from Iraq, broken and humbled…. As for our jihadi pillars, there are four. Firstly, waging jihad against the occupation until the last American is expelled from Iraq.” In KH’s efforts to fight ISIS in Iraq, KH remains opposed to any cooperation with the United States. In September 2014, for example, KH released a statement saying, “We will not fight alongside the American troops under any kind of conditions whatsoever. [Our only contact with Americans will be] if we fight each other.” In March 2015, KH’s military spokesman reaffirmed the group’s anti-American position, saying, “It is not possible for Kataib Hizbollah or any of the resistance factions to be in the same trench as the Americans.” In December 2017, following ISIS’s defeat in Iraq, KH released a statement declaring that “the enemy of humanity, the US, can no longer desecrate Iraqi soil, as the fighters of [KH] will not allow them to do so.”;

KH members have received training from Iran’s external military wing, the Quds Force, as well as from Lebanese Hezbollah, another Iranian proxy. By 2008, the Quds Force and Lebanese Hezbollah were running training camps in four locations in Iran (Tehran, Qom, Ahvaz, and Mashhad). There, KH and Iran’s other Shiite militias were trained on the use of small arms and explosives. Lebanese Hezbollah also ran training camps in southern Iraq until the group was forced to relocate the camps to Iran in April 2008. By 2010, training camps in Iran continued to provide KH with training related to small arms, surveillance, small unit tactics, and communications. By November 2013, KH members were reportedly being trained in either Iran or Lebanon and then flown to Syria to fight alongside Assad regime forces. By 2015, some KH members were receiving military training at a base near the city of Samarra in northern Iraq. KH has developed especially close ties with Unit 3800, the Lebanese Hezbollah wing devoted to arming and training Iraqi Shiite militias. In June 2015, the group allegedly helped train Bahraini militants;

Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada
Badr Organization
Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba
Promised Day Brigade
Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas SSI.svg Liwa Abu al-Fadhal al-Abbas
Saraya Ansar al-Aqeeda
Peshmerga (sometimes)
National Defence Forces
Al-Ashtar Brigades

Also Known As:
Kata’ib Hezbollah
Battalions of Hezbollah
Battalions of the Party of God
Brigades of the Party of God
Hezbollah Brigades
Hizballah Brigades
Hizballah Brigades in Iraq
Hizballah Brigades–Iraq
Hizballah Brigades–Iraq of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq
Islamic Resistance in Iraq
Kataib Hizb Allah
Kataib Hizbollah
Kata’ib Hezbollah
Kata’ib Hizballah
Kata’ib Hizballah fi al-Iraq
Kataib Hizbullah
Katibat Abu Fathel Al A’abas
Katibat Zayd Ebin Ali
Katibut Karbalah
Khata’ib Hezbollah
Khata’ib Hizballah
Khattab Hezballah

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

Shia Islamism
Velayat-e Faqih


Part of:
Popular Mobilization Forces

October 2003




Person of interests:
Ahmad al-Hamidawi – Leader
Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi a.k.a. Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes
Jafar al-Hussaini
Seyyed Hashem al-Haydari – Secretary General
Abu Zaynab al-Lami – Commander of the Central Security Directorate of the PMF and member of KH
Jaafar al-Husseini – Spokesman
Omar Abdullah al-Jbara – Leader (as of April 2015)
Jassim al-Saidi – Commander (as of December 2014)
Abu Hamza – Commander (as of November 2014)
Abu Abdullah – Commander (as of November 2014)
Raad Al Kafaji – Commander (as of November 2014)
Abu Fadl – Commander (as of June 2016)
Erfad – Commander (as of June 2016)

Reason for the color:
» Iran has financed, trained, and founded Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia which is sanction-designated by the U.S. government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO);
» Added on 7/2/2009 to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list maintained by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), freezing its assets under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting transactions with U.S. parties, pursuant to Executive Order 13438, which targets insurgent and militia groups and their supporters;