Opposition MK gives strongest hint Israel behind Kuntar assassination

February 27, 2016 14:28
1 minute read.
Samir Kuntar

Funeral of Samir Kuntar. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A lawmaker from the opposition publicly stated on Saturday what many believe to be true, although it has yet to be officially confirmed by the government – Israel was behind the killing of Hezbollah operative Samir Kuntar.

During a town hall meeting in Beersheba on Saturday, Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev was asked about the Lebanese Shi’ite group and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, in the wake of recent threats to attack chemical facilities in Haifa.

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“I would not recommend to Nasrallah that he leave his bunker,” the lawmaker, a former commander of the elite reconnaissance unit Sayeret Matkal, said. “Why? Because he’s an enemy and he’s a target.

He needs to be a target, so on a personal level, I would advise him to look after himself.”

When the moderator asked if Nasrallah would be targeted “at the earliest possible opportunity, just like Samir Kuntar,” Bar-Lev tried to dance around the subject.

“I certainly do not want to make operational statements of that kind,” he said.

But moments later, Bar-Lev was asked if the Kuntar killing could be considered “a tremendous success for Israel.”

“Yes, certainly,” the lawmaker replied.

Bar Lev released a statement afterward denying that he had confirmed that Israel was behind the assassination of Kuntar. “Any terrorist dying is welcome, and it does not matter if we had a hand in it or not,” he said.

Kuntar was killed in December when a number of rockets hit a building in the Damascus district of Jaramana. Government loyalists said the explosions had been an Israeli strike.

Kuntar, a Druse, was reviled in Israel for a 1979 attack that killed four people, two of them children. Israel released him in 2008 as part of a swap with Hezbollah for the bodies of missing soldiers. He was welcomed as a hero in Beirut, and later married a Lebanese Shi’ite woman from a family associated with Hezbollah.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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