Hezbollah says one of its leaders killed near Beirut, blames Israel

Hezbollah says one of its leaders killed near Beirut, blames Israel

BEIRUT - Agence France-Presse
Hezbollah says one of its leaders killed near Beirut, blames Israel

An image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on Dec 3, 2013 shows Hassan Nasrallah, chief of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, giving an interview to local television station OTV at an undisclosed location in Lebanon. AFP PHOTO/AL-MANAR

Hezbollah Dec. 4 said one of its leaders had been assassinated near Beirut and accused Israel, the Lebanese Shiite movement's arch-foe, of being behind the killing.

"The Islamic resistance announces the death of one of its leaders, the martyr Hassan Hawlo al-Lakiss, who was assassinated near his house in the Hadath region" east of Beirut, Hezbollah television channel Al Manar said.

"Direct accusation is aimed of course against the Israeli enemy which had tried to eliminate our martyred brother again and again and in several places but had failed, until yesterday evening," a Hezbollah statement broadcast by the channel said.

"This enemy must bear full responsibility for and all the consequences of this heinous crime," it added.

A Hezbollah source said Lakiss was very close to the Shiite movement's leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

The killing occurred around midnight, soon after Nasrallah had given an interview to Lebanese broadcaster OTV.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in the summer of 2006 in which more than 1,200 Lebanese, mainly civilians, and more than 150 Israelis, mainly soldiers, were killed.

Saudi behind blasts at Iran's Beirut embassy: Nasrallah

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah Dec. 3 blamed Saudi Arabia for a twin suicide attack on the Iranian embassy in Beirut that killed 25 people last month.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an Al-Qaeda affiliate that claimed responsibility for the attacks, "has an emir and he is Saudi, and I am convinced that it is linked to the Saudi intelligence services, which direct groups like this one in several parts of the world," Nasrallah told Lebanese broadcaster OTV.

While Hezbollah and Iran support Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Saudi Arabia backs rebel fighters seeking his ouster.

The Nov. 19 bomb attacks on the Iranian embassy came amid major regime offensives on several key fronts in Syria's brutal war, among them Damascus province and Aleppo.