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Abbas al-Musawi (Arabic عباس الموسوي)(c.1952–February 16, 1992) was an influential Muslim cleric and leader of Hezbollah. He was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1992.

Sayyed al Musawi was born in the village of al-Nabi Shayth in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and spent eight years studying theology in a religious school in al-Najaf, Iraq, where he was deeply influenced by the views of Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He returned to Lebanon in 1978 and in 1982 along with Subhi al-Tufayli spearheaded the formation of Hezbollah movement and militia in the Beqaa Valley, one of the three major areas of Shia population in Lebanon.[1] From 1983-85 he is reported to have served as operational head of the Hezbollah Special Security Apparatus and from late-1985 until April 1988 was head of Hezbollah's military wing, the Islamic Resistance.[2] [3][4][5]

According to some reports, al-Musawi was responsible for the abduction of Lt. Col William Higgins while commander of Hezbollah's Islamic Resistance, (military wing).[6], and [7]

By 1991 The Hezbollah had entered a new era with the end of the both the Iran–Iraq War and Lebanese Civil War, the Ta'if agreement and the release of the Kuwait 17 bombers. A new leader was thought to be needed to facilitate the release of the Western hostages held by Hezbollah and more importantly to shift Hezbollah's focus to resistance activity against Israel.

In May 1991, Hezbollah chose Musawi as its secretary-general. As a former head of both the Security Apparatus (considered the instigator of hostage taking) and the military wing of Hezbollah, Musawi was well qualified.[8]

Musawi replaced hard-line Sheikh Subhi al-Tufayli and promised Hezbollah would "wipe out every trace of Israel in Palestine," which he called the "the cancer of the Middle East", and would "intensify its military, political and popular action in order to undermine the peace-talks." [9]

On February 16, 1992, Israeli helicopters attacked a motorcade in southern Lebanon, killing Musawi, his wife, son, and four others. Israel said the attack had been planned as an assassination attempt. In retaliation, the Islamic Jihad Organization carried out the Israeli Embassy attack in Buenos Aires. Musawi was succeeded as secretary-general of Hezbollah by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Preceded by
Subhi Tufayli
Secretary-General of Hezbollah
Succeeded by
Hassan Nasrallah


  1. ^ Ranstorp, Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon : The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis, New York, St. Martins Press, (1997), p.46
  2. ^ Foreign Report, 30 July 1987
  3. ^ Ha'aretz, 2 October 1987
  4. ^ al-Hayat, 27 November 1989
  5. ^ Independent, 7 March 1990
  6. ^ Jerusalem Post, 21 February 1988
  7. ^ Ha'aretz, 28 February 1989
  8. ^ Ranstorp, Hizb'allah, (1997), p.105
  9. ^ Middle East International, November 8, 1991


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