Lebanese Daily: Hundreds Of Hizbullah-Allied Amal Movement Operatives Deployed On Lebanon-Israel Border, Carrying Out Attacks On Israel

On November 11, 2023, Lebanon’s Shi’ite Amal Movement announced that one of its operatives, ‘Ali Jamil Al-Hajj Dawoud, had been targeted in an act of “direct aggression by the oppressive Israeli enemy” in the Rab El Thalathine village of southern Lebanon, leading to his “martyrdom” and the injury of two other “mujahideen.” The announcement stated that Dawoud was born in 1988 in the village of Mlikh, Jezzine district.[1]

The Lebanese Al-Modon online daily, known for its opposition to Hizbullah, published an article on November 12 discussing the presence of Amal operatives along the Israeli border and their activities against Israel. According to the article, hundreds of these operatives, native to the villages of southern Lebanon, have been deployed near the border since mid-October 2023, where they are engaged in operations against Israel.[2]

The movement, allied with Hizbullah and founded in 1974, is headed by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and is the largest Shi’ite party in Lebanon’s Parliament, with 14 members compared to Hizbullah’s 13.

Hundreds Of Amal Fighters Deployed To Israeli Border Since Mid-October

Al-Modon notes that in a 2019 speech commemorating the 41st anniversary of the disappearance of Lebanese Shi’ite cleric Musa Al-Sadr, one of the founders of Amal, Berri told the group’s members: “Just as you were the beginning and cornerstone of the resistance, you are called to […] be ready and prepared to make the enemy understand that every inch of Lebanon is resisting.” The article interprets the speech to be a “direct order to [carry out] operations in preparation for future aggression.”

According to the Lebanese daily, reports increased following Berri’s speech that Amal’s military formations – whose activity never paused – had intensified their preparations and carried out maneuvers imitating the storming of Israeli settlements. Videos also circulated showing the group’s military training, while “informed sources” reported that Amal had established units named after the companions of Imam ‘Ali, such as the Hani bin ‘Urwah unit led by Dawoud and the Al-‘Abbas unit.

Al-Modon adds that although Amal’s activity was not “completely concealed,” its activity on the southern border since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel has been. Al-Modon sources claim that since mid-October, the group has deployed its fighters at its positions in the area, adding that “we are speaking not about tens or a few hundred, but more.” According to the sources, Amal has not publicized these activities, because it sees its operations at the border as “natural,” as Berri has stated that the group “dos not [merely] stand behind Hizbullah in its resistance activity, but is a partner in the field, and the movement’s fighters are deployed on the borders just like members of the Civil Defense.”

November 11 Operation Was Not First Amal Attack On Israel And Will Not Be Last

The sources added that the operation carried out by Dawoud before he was killed in an Israeli airstrike “was not the first on the border against Israeli positions and will not be the last, of course.” They reported that at the beginning of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, Dawoud and his unit headed to the “forward areas.” He then left to visit his father before returning to his position, and on the morning of November 11, “gathered his group and discussed the plan of the operation with them for the last time. Then the group set out and carried out its task fully in a forward post near the border.” At noon, the group returned to its position in Rab El Thalathine, about 2.2 km (1.4 miles) from the Israeli kibbutz Misgav Am, where each fighter prayed in his bunker. Dawoud insisted on praying under a tree and shortly thereafter was targeted by an Israeli drone, which killed him and lightly injured two of his companions. The sources added that for an hour Dawoud’s companions were unable to drag him from the area.

Al-Modon notes that Amal’s activity in Rab El Thalathine began in 1975-1977 and that ‘Ali Dawoud was a nephew of Amal commander Hasan Dawoud, known as the “eagle of the south.” The sources quoted Dawoud’s companions, who reported that he had expressed a wish to be martyred in a way that would bring glory to Amal.

In a November 11 speech, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah discussed the group’s recent attacks on northern Israel, claiming the group has sent surveillance drones deep into Israeli territory.[3]

There have also been recent reports that Iran-backed militias have deployed more than 700 elite fighters to Syria’s border with Israel.[4] [1] Telegram, November 11, 2023.

[2] Almodon, November 12, 2023.

[3] See MEMRI JTTM Report: Hizbullah Leader Hassan Nasrallah Praises Hamas Attack As Parallel To 1982 Tyre Suicide Operation In South Lebanon; Claims To Have Sent Drones Into North Israel, November 11, 2023.

[4] See MEMRI JTTM Report: Syrian Opposition Website: More Than 700 Elite Forces Trained By Hizbullah And Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Now Control Syrian Border With Israel, November 13, 2023.

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