After a Hezbollah commander in charge of pursuing spies and collaborators was found killed in southern Lebanon over the weekend, Lebanese and Iranian media began reporting that the Mossad "and its mercenaries" were suspects in the assassination.
Hezbollah commander Ali Mohammed Younis was killed by unknown assassins in southern Lebanon on Saturday.
The Hezbollah commander was “responsible for pursuing spies and collaborators,” according to unofficial statements, the Iranian Fars news agency reported. The Fars report included an image of a body lying next to an open vehicle.
Hezbollah sources said Younis was found stabbed to death in his vehicle, Lebanese MTV news reported. He was found south of Nabatiya, Sputnik news reported.
A body was found on Saturday at the same location with stab and bullet wounds, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported. The report included an image that appeared the same as the image published in the Iranian reports about Younis’s death. A suspect has been arrested, NNA reported.
Al-Quds Al-Araby reported that the statement issued by Hezbollah mourning Younis indicated that his death was connected to his work, adding that the death may have also been due to differences between Younis and another group over financial issues.
The Janoubia news website reported that Younis had been working for a while on a "sensitive file." Sources told the website that Younis was on a mission pursuing a target when he was ambushed by three vehicles and killed. Another person traveling with him was injured in the incident and mistakenly believed to be the murderer, according to Janoubia. It is unclear if he is the suspect that NNA reported.
Hezbollah forces cordoned off the area and began investigating the incident due to the "sensitive case" in which Younis was involved.
Younis was a “close associate” of former IGRC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Sputnik reported.
Preliminary information indicates that a professional party carried out the assassination, the sources told Janoubia. "The information provided by Hezbollah suggests that the assassination of Younis was carried out by the Israeli Mossad and its agents," reported Janoubia. Fars and Al-Quds Al-Araby quoted Janoubia's claims in their reports on the incident as well.
The assassination of Younis occurred just two weeks after unknown assailants killed Antoine Hayek, a former member of the Israeli-backed South Lebanon Army militia, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. The killing of Hayek occurred three days after Amer Fakhoury, a Lebanese-American who belonged to the same militia, was airlifted out of the country.
The Hezbollah sources told Janoubia that there is no relationship between the assassination of Younis and the killing of Hayek. Last year, former senior Hezbollah official Ali Hatoum was found shot to death in his home near Bourj Al-Barajneh, south of Beirut, NNA reported.
Video of a minaret announcing Younis’s death in southern Lebanon was shared by the Iranian Tasnim news agency on its Twitter account.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is expected to speak at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday to mark the middle of Shabaan, the month before Ramadan.