Naim Qassem

Sheikh Naim Qassem is a Shia Lebanese cleric and politician and second in command of Hezbollah (“Party of God”). He holds the title of deputy secretary-general. World Heritage Encyclopedia,

Born Naim Qassem in Kfar fila, in southern Lebanon, Naim Qassem was among the founding members of Hezbollah in 1982. Qassem has served as Hezbollah’s second-in-command since 1992, when the group entered the political realm. He is widely credited with being Hezbollah’s leading media personality. In 2004, he published a history of Hezbollah that included an autobiographical account of his role in the organization. Two years later, it was translated into numerous languages, including English, and was titled “Hezbollah: The Story from Within.” “The Man in Nasrallah's Shadow: A Profile of Sheikh Naim Qasim,” The Jamestown Foundation, Volume: 3 Issue: 33, August 23, 2006,[tt_news]=882&no_cache=1#.VPi1juH0eQF.

Qassem is one of the founders of a Lebanese Muslim student union that was established in the 1970s. Qassem joined the Amal movement when it was led by Imam Musa Sadr. Qassem was also the head of the Islamic religious education association from 1974 to 1988. Qassem participated in foundation activities of Hezbollah and was appointed deputy secretary-general of Hezbollah in 1992.

On October 7, 2023, one day after the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Hamas—with Iranian support—launched a multi-pronged attack on Israel, killing 1,200 and taking over 240 hostages into Gaza.Josef Federman and Issam Adwan, “Hamas surprise attack out of Gaza stuns Israel and leaves hundreds dead in fighting, retaliation,” Associated Press, October 7, 2023,; “Israeli forces conducting ‘wide-scale strikes’ on Hamas centers in Gaza. Here’s everything you need to know,” CNN, October 9, 2023,; Lauren Frayer, “Israel revises down its death toll from the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks to about 1,200,” NPR, November 11, 2023, On October 8, Hezbollah began a months-long campaign launching rockets, drones, and missiles toward northern Israel.“Israel, Hezbollah exchange artillery, rocket fire,” Reuters, October 8, 2023, During the first few days of the war, Hezbollah sent messages to Israel that it was ready to join the conflict if Israel were to launch a ground assault on Gaza.Dion Nissenbaum and Ari Flanzraich, “At Israel-Lebanon Border, Fears Grow of a Second Front,” Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2023, Nasrallah praised Hamas for its strike against Israel, calling it a message against normalization with Israel.Rory Jones, “Hezbollah Praises Hamas Attack, Warns Against Normalizing Ties With Israel,” October 7, 2023, On October 11, the United states announced it was sending two aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean to provide support and deter foreign intervention against Israel. Specifically, the United States warned Hezbollah against intervening in the war.Vivian Salama, “U.S. Looks at Risks of Deeper Involvement With Israel’s War on Hamas,” Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2023, On October 13, Qassem proclaimed that Hezbollah had a plan and would carry it out at the appropriate time. According to Qassem, Hezbollah was “fully ready” to join the war, and international warnings would not affect its decision.“Hezbollah says calls for it not to intervene in war ‘will have no effect,’” Reuters, October 13, 2023, In a November 2023 interview with NBC News, Qassem threatened that Hezbollah would increase its attacks on Israel if Israel continued targeting the Gaza Strip. He accused the United States of being “the mastermind” of Israel’s campaign in Gaza.Matt Bradley and Natasha Lebedeva, “Iran-backed groups threaten to expand Gaza war as they step up attacks on Israel and U.S.,” NBC News, November 7, 2023,

Hezbollah continued to launch near-daily rocket attacks into northern Israel into 2024. In an exclusive interview with NBC News on April 18, 2024, Qassem blamed Israel and the United States for perpetuating a cycle of violence in Lebanon. Qassem claimed that Hezbollah did not seek escalation with Israel but would respond to Israeli actions in Lebanon. He also criticized Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates for aiding Israel in defending against an Iranian missile attack over the previous weekend.Matt Bradley, Ziad Jaber, and Natasha Lebedeva, “Hezbollah's second-in-command insists it is not seeking war, but would respond to Israeli escalation,” NBC News, April 18, 2024,

On June 12, 2024, Hezbollah launched 215 projectiles toward Israel, targeting an Israeli military headquarters and a military air surveillance station. It was one of Hezbollah’s largest attacks since October 2023.Euan Ward, “Hezbollah Launches Rocket Barrage After Israeli Strike Kills a Commander,” New York Times, June 12, 2024, In response, on June 14, Israel launched a rocket attack, targeting the home of Hezbollah Executive Assembly leader Hashem Safieddine in Deir Qanoun in southern Lebanon. According to media sources, the strike targeted Safieddine, Qassem, and Hezbollah co-founder and former leader Subhi al-Tufayli. Shortly after, an unidentified Hezbollah spokesman claimed the building was empty when it was struck down.“Two killed and at least 20 injured in Israeli strike near Deir Qanoun,” L’Orient Today, June 14, 2024,

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Type(s) of Organization:
Militia, political party, social-service provider, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Iranian-sponsored, Islamist, jihadist, Khomeinist, Shiite
Deputy Secretary-General

Hezbollah is an Iranian-sponsored, internationally sanctioned terrorist group with an anti-Israel and anti-U.S. agenda. Hezbollah is primarily based in Lebanon, but has carried out terrorist and criminal operations around the world.

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