BEIRUT — The leader of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group says it is confident based on evidence it has that Israel was behind this month’s assassination in Beirut of a senior Hezbollah commander.

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah vowed in a speech Friday to exact revenge.

Hassan al-Laqis was gunned down in the garage of his nearby apartment building on Dec. 4.

Israel denied involvement but Nasrallah, whose fighters are assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces in the civil war in Syria and has no shortage of enemies, insisted that Israel was to blame.

He said the killers will be hunted down and “they will be killed sooner or later.”

Nasrallah described al-Laqis as a “brother and friend since we were teenagers.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.