'Asbat al-Ansar—the Partisans' League—is a Lebanon-based, Sunni extremist group, composed primarily of Palestinians, which is associated with Osama Bin Ladin. The group follows an extremist interpretation of Islam that justifies violence against civilian targets to achieve political ends. Some of those goals include overthrowing the Lebanese government and thwarting perceived anti-Islamic influences in the country.
Organization activities. 'Asbat al-Ansar has carried out several terrorist attacks in Lebanon since it first emerged in the early 1990s. The group carried out assassinations of Lebanese religious leaders and bombed several nightclubs, theaters, and liquor stores in the mid-1990s. The group raised its operational profile in 2000 with two dramatic attacks against Lebanese and international targets. The group was involved in clashes in northern Lebanon in late December, 1999, and carried out a rocket-propelled grenade attack on the Russian embassy in Beirut in January 2000.
'Asbat al-Ansar commands about 300 hundred fighters in Lebanon. The group's primary base of operations is the 'Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in southern Lebanon, and it is thought that they receive money through international Sunni extremist networks and Osama Bin Ladin's al-Qaida network.
█ FURTHER READING:
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. < http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ > (April 16, 2003).
Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, Annual Report: On the record briefing. May 21, 2002 < http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm > (April 17,2003).
U.S. Department of State. Annual reports. < http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html > (April 16, 2003).