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Hezbollah threatens to retaliate against Israel for assassination
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
05/12/2013
Lebanese paper claims Mossad was behind attack, says "Israel has not carried out assassinations this bold and direct before."
 
A Lebanese newspaper reported on Thursday that Hezbollah blames Israel for the assassination of Hassan al-Laqqis and will respond.

Ibrahim al-Amin, editor-in-chief of the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar, which tends to support the “axis of resistance” of Hezbollah, Iran and Syria, stated in an article titled “Hezbollah will respond” that all signs point to Israel for the assassination.

“All indications are that Israel was behind the assassination, with a slim possibility that another party was involved. That’s why it did not take long for Hezbollah – based on its long experience with the Israelis – to point the finger at Tel Aviv, even though the occupation’s Foreign Ministry was quick to deny its involvement,” Amin wrote.

He said that the assassination could be seen as an Israeli response to the Iranian nuclear deal made with the West that it was not happy with, and that because of the deal, Israel could not attack an Iranian target, such as a nuclear scientist.

Amin suggested that Israel wanted to send a message to the West – that it would remain independent and maintain its deterrence against its enemies.

Hassan al-Laqqis, who is believed to have commanded Hezbollah troops fighting in Syria’s civil war, was shot in the head from close range outside his home in the Hadath district of the Lebanese capital in a killing that the Shi’ite group immediately blamed on Israel.

A previously unknown group, Ahrar al-Sunna Baalbek Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Amin said it was possible that Israel calculated that Hezbollah, like Syria, was not in a position to respond to Israeli aggression at the moment because of its involvement in a “wider war at this time.”

However, Amin wrote, “there are indications that Israel may have miscalculated” and a response would not be long in coming.

Another report in the same newspaper said that the in the light of several previous assassination attempts against Laqqis, there was “no doubt that this is a Mossad operation, no matter who carried it out directly.”

The report left open the option that a Sunni radical group could have carried out the attack with cooperation from Israel.

“However, the identity of the target proves conclusively that the mastermind is Israel,” it said.

The report further described how the attack was supposedly carried out.

Around midnight on Wednesday, a guard at the Shaheen residential complex, located southeast of Beirut, woke up after hearing noise. When he went to check what happened, he saw Laqqis sitting in his car covered in blood.

Another neighbor, from his balcony, saw two men running away. Soon afterwards, Hezbollah men arrived at the scene.

The attackers fired five shots, with one missing.

Tapes from the security cameras are being analyzed, with one located right where the victim’s car was located.

“Israel has not carried out assassinations this bold and direct before,” the report said, as most assassinations were carried out with car bombs or on a route taken regularly by the target.

The Lebanese newspaper as-Safir reported that Laqqis travelled alone, without security, whether in Beirut or in Baalbek.
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