Over the last four decades, the Iranian regime has built a network of armed groups on Israel’s borders to create instability and foment terrorism. Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and a mosaic of other terrorist organizations receive funding, training, and weapons from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF). FDD’s Long War Journal has monitored the buildup of Iran-backed terrorist organizations on key fronts: Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel has worked to limit the growth of these terrorist organizations, but they remain a significant threat on multiple fronts.
This visual draws on open-source information, such as data released by government agencies, English and Arabic-language news reports, and social media accounts operated by terrorist organizations.
Terrorist organizations highlighted in the visual are active, possess military capabilities to attack Israel and have acknowledged receiving support from Iran or are closely affiliated with armed groups who do. Palestinian organizations who operate under the Hamas-led Joint Operations Room are included due to their close affiliation with factions who receive support from Iran.
The visual identifies the terror groups’ areas of operation based on information primarily published by terrorist organizations. While most of the armed groups have maintained a presence in their respective territories for many years – decades in some cases – nascent terrorist organizations, such as the West Bank branches of Islamic Jihad and the Nablus-based Lions’ Den, are in the process of expanding the territory from which they operate from. Likewise, long-established organizations sometimes seek to open new fronts, as in the case of Hamas’ spread into southern Lebanon.
Some data — particularly funding levels, number of active members, arsenal contents and the identity of key leaders — are not available in open sources. These data points are noted as “undisclosed” or an estimate is given, often based on public statements of government officials — some anonymous — who have access to intelligence. In some instances, if FDD’s Long War Journal cannot locate reliable open-source data identifying a commander or secretary-general, “key leaders” is listed as “former leaders.” Furthermore, some organizations have established external headquarters, which are indicated in the "Area of Operation" segment of the profiles.