Posted 11 months ago on Dec. 20, 2013, 11:23 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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The head of the Lebanese-based Shi’ite militia Hezbollah vowed retribution against Israel on Friday for the killing of one of his most trusted aides earlier this month.
Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, accused Israel of assassinating Hassan al-Laqqis, a senior operative with the organization who was believed to have commanded Hezbollah forces fighting in Syria.
Earlier this month, al-Laqqis was shot in the head from close range outside his home in the Hadath district of Beirut. Hezbollah immediately accused the Israeli government of masterminding the hit, a charge which officials in Jerusalem flatly denied.
"All evidence indicates that Israel is behind the assassination,” Nasrallah said on Friday in a televised tribute to al-Laqqis.
The Hezbollah chief praised al-Laqqis as “one of the brilliant brains of the resistance.”
"All the indicators and clues points to the Israeli enemy," Nasrallah said, in his first public comments since the attack.
"Our killer is known, our enemy is known, our adversary is known ... When the facts point to Israel, we accuse it," he said in televised remarks to supporters in southern Beirut.
Israel has denied any role in the shooting and hinted that the motive may have been Hezbollah's military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in his war with mainly Sunni Muslim rebels.
The 2-1/2 year-old civil war in Syria has polarised the Middle East between Sunni Muslim powers, such as Turkey and the Gulf Arab states who support the rebels, and Shi'ite Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, who back Assad.
The president's Alawite faith is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
Hezbollah has sent several thousand fighters to Syria, helping to turn the tide in Assad's favor this year. But Nasrallah said on Friday that would not prevent it from avenging the killing of al-Laqqis.
"If the Israelis think ... that Hezbollah is busy and that Israel will not pay the price, I say to them today, 'You are wrong'," he said. Read the rest here