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With fanfare and warning to Israel, Hezbollah buries Samir Kuntar in Beirut

Thousands turn out for funeral of terrorist said to have been killed in IDF strike on Syria; Shiite group calls assassination a ‘stupid act’

Members of Hezbollah carry the coffin of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kantar, who was killed in a suspected Israeli air raid on his home on the outskirts of Damascus, during his funeral procession in Beirut on December 21, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO)
Members of Hezbollah carry the coffin of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kantar, who was killed in a suspected Israeli air raid on his home on the outskirts of Damascus, during his funeral procession in Beirut on December 21, 2015. (AFP PHOTO/ANWAR AMRO)

Thousands of people gathered Monday in a Hezbollah stronghold south of the Lebanese capital Beirut for the funeral of high-profile terrorist Samir Kuntar, who the Shiite group claims was killed by an Israeli airstrike near the Syrian capital overnight Saturday.

Hezbollah said Kuntar, who spent 29 years in an Israeli prison for his part in the brutal 1979 murders of a Nahariya family, was killed along with eight others in the airstrike on a residential building in Jaramana, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The Shiite terror group, which fought Israel in a month-long war in 2006, has pledged to avenge his killing.

Supporters of the group walked behind his coffin, which was draped in a yellow Hezbollah flag. “Death to Israel,” the men shouted as women threw rice and rose petals at the coffin.

File: Samir Kuntar. (Mardetanha/Wikipedia)
File: Samir Kuntar. (Mardetanha/Wikipedia)

“Samir Kuntar was made for Palestine and he died a martyr for it,” Hezbollah’s Executive Assembly chief Hashim Safi Al Din said, according to the Israeli news website Ynet.

“If the Israeli thinks he settled the score with Kuntar’s assassination, then he is wrong. He knows he only set new scores,” Al Din said. “If Israel hasn’t learned from all of its failed attempts to assassinate senior commanders, then it ought to know it committed a new stupid act by assassinating Kuntar.”

He warned that “only days separate us from the Israeli enemy.”

A general view taken on December 20, 2015, shows a Syrians gathering at the site of a reported Israeli air raid that killed senior Hezbollah terrorist Samir Kuntar in Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA)
A general view taken on December 20, 2015, shows a Syrians gathering at the site of a reported Israeli air raid that killed senior Hezbollah terrorist Samir Kuntar in Damascus. (AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA)

 

The head of Hezbollah’s foreign media relations, Omar al-Mussawi, said Monday that “the Israeli enemy will regret the assassination of Samir Kuntar.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was expected to make a speech later Monday about the assassination.

Israel has not confirmed that it was behind the attack, although officials have expressed satisfaction over Kuntar’s death. There have also been Israeli reports that Kuntar may have been planning fresh terror attacks against Israel.

A Lebanese Druze, Kuntar became infamous for the 1979 raid from Lebanon in which he helped kidnap members of the Haran family from Nahariya. The family’s four-year-old daughter, Einat, was killed when Kuntar smashed her head with his rifle butt. Three others, including her father, Danny, were also murdered in the attack. Kuntar was 16 at the time, and a member of the Palestine Liberation Front.

Kuntar spent 29 years in an Israeli prison before being traded to Hezbollah in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of abducted IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Following his release, he took on a senior role in the group, was honored by then-Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and by Syrian President Bashar Assad, and helped to organize Syrian Druze on the Golan Heights and elsewhere into terror cells charged with carrying out attacks against Israel.

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