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Nasrallah, Sheikh Hassan (1960–)

General secretary of the Lebanese Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah since 1992, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah presided over Israel's 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon. Nasrallah is said to be Hezbollah's most diplomatic leader, and is known for guiding the organization into a more political, rather than violent, role in Lebanon.

The son of a poor vegetable vendor and a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, Nasrallah fled his home in eastern Beirut in 1975 at the start of the Lebanese civil war. He later traveled to Iraq to study theology in the holy Shiite city of Najaf. Like many Shiite leaders, Nasrallah left Iraq by decree of President Saddam Hussein. When just 21, Nasrallah helped to found the militant Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, or Party of God. During the 1980s, when Hezbollah made headlines by taking a number of Western hostages, Nasrallah served as a commander ...

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