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Hezbollah[1] (Arabic: حزب اللهḥizbu-illāh(i),[2] literally "Party of God") is a Shia paramilitary group and political party based in Lebanon.[3][4][5] It is regarded as a resistance movement throughout much of the Arab and Muslim worlds,[3] and is supported by Iran and Syria. Multiple countries, including Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan,[6] have condemned actions by Hezbollah. The United States, United Kingdom, Egypt,[7] Israel, Australia, and Canada regard Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, in whole or in part.[8]

Hezbollah first emerged in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, during the Lebanese civil war.[9] Its leaders were inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards.[10] Hezbollah's 1985 manifesto listed its four main goals as "Israel's final departure from Lebanon as a prelude to its final obliteration," ending "any imperialist power in Lebanon," submission of the Phalangists to "just rule" and bringing them to trial for their crimes, and giving the people the chance to choose "with full freedom the system of government they want," while we not hide our commitment to the rule of Islam."[11][12] Hezbollah leaders have also made numerous statements calling for the destruction of Israel, which they refer to as a "Zionist entity... built on lands wrested from their owners."[11][12]

Hezbollah, which started with only a small militia, has grown to an organization with seats in the Lebanese government, a radio and a satellite television-station, and programs for social development.[13] Hezbollah maintains strong support among Lebanon's Shi'a population, and is able to mobilize demonstrations of hundreds of thousands.[14] Hezbollah alongside with some other groups began the 2006–2008 Lebanese political protests in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.[15] A later dispute over Hezbollah preservation of its telecoms network led to clashes and Hezbollah-led opposition fighters seized control of several West Beirut neighborhoods from Future Movement militiamen loyal to Fouad Siniora. These areas were then handed over to the Lebanese Army.[16] A national unity government was formed in 2008, giving Hezbollah and its opposition allies control of eleven of thirty cabinets seats; effectively veto power.[5]

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