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Hezbollah says commander 'assassinated' near Beirut

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The militant Shi'ite Lebanese group Hezbollah has said one of its military leaders, Hassan al-Laqqis, was "assassinated" overnight Wednesday outside his home near Beirut, an attack Hezbollah blamed on Israel.


Lebanon’s militant Shi’ite group Hezbollah says one of its commanders was “assassinated” outside his Beirut home overnight Wednesday in an attack it blamed on Israel.

The group said in a statement that Hassan al-Laqqis was killed at around midnight in the Hadath district of the Lebanese capital.

According to Lebanese security officials speaking with the AP on conditions of anonymity, al-Laqqis was in his car in the parking lot of his residence when assailants opened fire on him.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital but died early Wednesday from his wounds, the officials said.

Hezbollah’s statement blamed Israel for the killing. It said Israel had tried to kill al-Laqqis several times, but had failed.

“The Israeli enemy is naturally directly to blame,” the statement said. “This enemy must shoulder complete responsibility and repercussions for this ugly crime and its repeated targeting of leaders and cadres of the resistance.”

According to the statement, al-Laqqis has been with Hezbollah from the time of its inception. His son died fighting Israel in the month-long 2006 war, one of several that Hezbollah has fought with Israel.

Hezbollah is also a key backer of neighbouring Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

In May, the movement admitted for the first time that it had sent fighters to support Assad’s forces in their bid to crush an anti-regime rebellion that erupted in 2011.

The 32-month conflict in neighbouring Syria has provoked attacks across the border as well as stirred sectarian tensions within Lebanon, where many Sunnis back the armed uprising and are opposed to Hezbollah’s intervention.


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