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Hassan Nasrallah

Nasrallah, Hassan (häˈsən näsräˈlä) [key], 1960–, Lebanese political and religious leader. A Shiite Muslim cleric, he became politically active in the 1970s and joined the Amal militia. After Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, he joined the newly formed, more radical Hezbollah, and served (1989–91) as its representative in Iran. In 1992, when Hezbollah's leader, Sayyad Abbas al-Musawi, was killed by an Israeli missile, Nasrallah succeeded him. Under Nasrallah and with Iranian and Syrian support, Hezbollah has evolved from a militia to a political party as well, winning loyalty by providing social services to Shiites. Credited with helping to force Israel to withdraw (2000), Nasrallah's and Hezbollah's popularity increased greatly. Its now well-armed and -trained militia fought Israel's army to a stalemate in the 2006 invasion, and Hezbollah subsequently became the dominant force in Lebanon's fractured politics.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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