Sheik Abdel Karim Obeid With AM-Hostages, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ Born in 1956 in the Shiite village of Jibchit, Lebanon, Obeid is married and the father of five.
He studied engineering at the Lebanese University in Beirut but left in 1980 for religious studies in Iran.
The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon caught him vacationing in Jibchit and he remained there. He worked with Imam Raged Harb, the Shiite spiritual leader in the village of Jibchit, and became the imam, or spiritual leader, when Harb, a fiery, anti-Israeli preacher, was assassinated in 1984.
Obeid is reputed to be the spiritual guide of Hezbollah in south Lebanon, although he has denied involvement with the fundamentalist group, believed to be an umbrella for the kidnappers of foreign hostages in Lebanon.
Obeid was abducted by Israeli commandos on July 28, 1989.
Israel claimed Obeid was involved in terrorist activities, distributing money, transferring weapons, participating in attacks and approving nearly every act Hezbollah carried out in south Lebanon.