Analysis of Hizballah Attacks
— November 1, 2023 —
Hizballah, a Lebanon-based political party, military organization, and terrorist group, is a significant partner in the “axis of resistance.” Hizballah has a strategic alliance with Iran, provides support to the Syrian regime, strives to maintain political power in Lebanon, and aims to destroy Israel.
The organization possesses military capabilities comparable to those of a state, including air defense systems, anti-ship and anti-tank missiles, precision-guided missiles, rockets, and unmanned aircraft systems. Hizballah is proficient in employing both asymmetric and conventional tactics and has been involved in attacks in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
Using the GRID database, GTTAC examined Hizballah’s operations and tactics leading up to Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel (see Figure 1).
From January 2018 to September 2023, Hizballah carried out 47 attacks, resulting in 170 fatalities. Twenty (43 percent) of these attacks took place in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
Figure 1. Hizballah Attacks From January 2018 Through September 2023
Hizballah’s attacks steadily increased from 2018 to 2020 but significantly declined from a peak in 2020 through September 2023, with only two attacks during the first nine months of 2023.
Hizballah’s preferred methods of attack were shootings and bombings. Similar to Hamas and the Palestine Islamic Jihad, Hizballah members were the most common “victims” of their own attacks, with 11 instances in which Hizballah members were killed or wounded as a result of their attacks.
The terrorist group mainly targeted other nonstate violent actors, military forces, pro-government forces, and political party members, while carefully refraining from directly targeting civilians.
Hizballah praised Hamas’s October 7 attack and launched multiple rocket attacks on Israeli targets from Lebanon, raising concerns that Hizballah might open a second front for Israel in its conflict with Hamas. GTTAC has observed that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as well as Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza, is likely to mobilize Hizballah and lead to an increase in its attacks on Israeli targets. This threat could become even more significant as Hizballah receives increasing logistical and political support from its regional partners and sponsors, as Israel’s invasion of Gaza progresses.
Global Terrorism Trends and Analysis Center (GTTAC). (2023). GTTAC Global Record of Incident Database, 2018–23 [data file]. Retrieved October 12, 2023, from https://www.gttac.com