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Nasrallah, Hassan

Nasrallah, Hassan hä´sən näsrä´lä [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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