Hezbollah's jihad theme park

The extremist group hopes to attract fresh recruits to its cause


Hezbollah is offering a new travel option—“jihadi tourism.” At a complex in Lebanon, visitors can stroll past overturned Israeli tanks, Hezbollah anti-tank rockets and missiles, and camouflaged dummy fighters crawling through low brush. The large, slick display in the village of Mlita, 70 km south of Beirut, was inaugurated on May 25, the 10th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal of troops from south Lebanon.

The project’s aim is to promote Hezbollah’s “history of resistance” against Israel, said Hassan Nasrallah, the militant Shia group’s leader, and to inspire a new generation of young fighters. It sits on a mountaintop that was a secret front-line base during the Israeli occupation of the 1980s, and also features a 180-m tunnel leading to an operations bunker. The underground network is similar to those Hezbollah used in 2006 during its 34-day war with Israel.

The site’s unveiling comes amid fears of renewed fighting in the area. The day after the complex was opened, the Lebanese army fired on two Israeli warplanes it said were violating its airspace.

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