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Osbat al-Ansar: Wikis

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Osbat al-Ansar or Asbat an-Ansar (League of the Partisans) is a Lebanon-based Sunni fundamentalist group established in the early 1990s which professes the Salifi form of Islam and the overthrow the Lebanese-dominated secular government. [1][2] The organization is largely based in Ain al-Hilweh.[1]

Osbat al-Ansar is on the United States' list of terrorist organizations for alleged connections with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, American administration decided to freeze all assets of Osbat al-Ansar following the attacks on September 11th, 2001.[2][3] The group has also reportedly received funding from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.[1] The organization has also been proscribed as a terrorist group by Australia, the United Nations, the United Kingdom and Canada.[1]

Osbat al-Ansar is also connected with fundamentalist groups Osbat al-Nour, Jund Ash Sham, the Dinniyeh Group and Takfir wal Hijra.[1] Ahmed Abd al-Karim al-Saadi is the ostensible leader of the group; however, since he went into hiding in 1999, the group has been led by his brother Abu Tariq.[1]. Osbat al-Ansar is estimated to have between 100 and 200 members, mostly Palestinian refugees in Ain al-Hilweh.[1]

Contents

Ideology

According to the Australian Government and the Canadian Government the goal of Osbat al-Ansar is "the establishment of a radical Sunni Islamic state in Lebanon." as well as "Overthrowing the Lebanese government and preventing what they perceive as anti-Sunni Islamic influences in Lebanon".[4][5]

The group professes the Salifi form of Islam. [1][2]

Activities

Osbat al-Ansar has carried out multiple terrorist attacks in Lebanon since it first emerged in the early 1990s. The group assassinated Lebanese religious leaders and bombed nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores in the mid-1990s. The group raised its operational profile in 2000 with two attacks against Lebanese and international targets. It was involved in clashes in northern Lebanon in December 1999 and carried out a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the Russian Embassy in Beirut in January 2000. Osbat al-Ansar’s leader, Abu Muhjin, remains at large despite being sentenced to death in absentia for the murder in 1994 of a Muslim cleric.

Osbat al-Ansar gained public interest in Lebanon after members assassinated the head of al-Ahbash in January 1995.[2] Khaled Hamed, Ahmed Al-Kassem and Mounir Abboud three members of Osbat al-Ansar were hung after being convicted by Lebanese authorities of the murder.[6]

Members of Osbat al-Ansar shot and killed five judges on June 8, 1999 in the city of Sidon. The assassins survived and escaped back to Ain al-Hilweh.[1][2]On September 8, 1999, the custom office in Sidon was bombed;[1]on January 3, 2000, Russian embassy in Beirut was attacked by a rocket-propelled grenade in protest of the Russian military campaign in Chechnya;[1][2]a church was bombed in Sidon in October 17, 2001.[1]The group is also believed to be responsible for the November 21, 2002 murder of US missionary Bonnie Witherall in Sidon.[1][2]

In 2003, suspected Osbat al-Ansar elements were responsible for the attempt in April to use a car bomb against a McDonald’s in a Beirut suburb. By October, Lebanese security forces arrested Ibn al-Shahid, who is believed to be associated with Osbat al-Ansar, and charged him with masterminding the bombing of three fast food restaurants in 2002 and the attempted attack in April 2003 on the McDonald’s. Osbat forces were involved in other violence in Lebanon in 2003, including clashes with members of Yassir Arafat’s Fatah movement in the ‘Ayn al-Hilwah refugee camp and a rocket attack in June on the Future TV building in Beirut.

According to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Osbat al-Ansar is planning future terrorist attacks.[1]

Other actions by Osbat al-Ansar

In 2002 a representative of Osbat al-Ansar handed over Badieh Hamadeh, a shiite living in Ain al-Hilweh suspected of killing three Lebanese soldiers, to Lebanese authorities. A spokesman for Osbat al-Ansar stated that the decision to make the hand over was to "spare the camp any bloodshed".[7]

Prevented attacks

In 2001 Daniel Ahmad Samarji, and Bilal Ali Othman, were arrested in the northern city of Tripoli for planning terrorist acts, illegal dealing in weapons of war and discharging firearms.[8]

See also

References

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