Hizballah: IS trying to 'tarnish the image of jihad' with Barcelona attacks

Hizballah: IS trying to 'tarnish the image of jihad' with Barcelona attacks
Lebanese militia Hizballah has condemned last week's attacks by alleged IS sympathisers in Barcelona, saying it is an attempt to tarnish the image of jihad and Islam.
2 min read
21 Aug, 2017
Hizballah have condemned the Barcelona attackers [Anadolu]
Hizballah has described recent attacks by people allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group as "tarnishing the image of jihad", in a condemnation critics have described as hypocritical due to the Lebanese militia's past bombings of civilian targets.

The gorup's statement follows last week's van attack in a busy Barcelona street which left 15 people dead.

Hizballah condemned the attack as a "crime" and part of a "satanic scheme", according to pro-Hizballah media outlet al-Manar. The militia added that it was determined to "wipe out" the Islamic State group.

"This [IS] ideology is based on hatred... As terrorist attacks are spreading worldwide it becomes a duty to wipe out this organisation and undermine its destructive ideas," Hizballah said in a statement.

Hizballah is waging a war against IS militants in eastern Lebanon, close to the Syrian border.

Last week, photos were shared online showing the Lebanese army - which is also taking part in the campaign - raising the Spanish flag over a position siezed from IS, in recognition of the massacre in Barcelona.

Over the border in Syria, Hizballah has become one of Bashar al-Assad's main backers and poured in thousands of fighters to bolster his regime, which has also been linked to terrorist groups.

Assad's war on Syrian rebels - and his people - has been condemned by the opposition as a reign of terror.

More than 500,000 people - mostly civilians - are believed to have been killed in the war, which broke out in 2011 after popular protests were brutally put down by the regime.

Whole neighbourhoods have been flattened in Syrian regime and Russian bombing. Human rights groups have accused Damascus of deliberately targeting homes, hospitals and schools.

The Syrian regime and its allies have also been found responsible for numerous massacres, mass executions, and gas attacks throughout the six-year war.

Meanwhile, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has frequently sympathised with European countries targeted by IS. 

His image in the Arab world as a leader "bravely resisting Israel" has been tarnished by Hizballah's involvement in the Syria war and his seeming lack of empathy for Syrian civilians.

Hizballah has already been designated as a terrorist organisation by the US, EU and Arab League, after being held responsible for bomb attacks on civilian targets, including the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina, which left 85 people dead.