Hezbollah is planning a response to the assassination late Saturday night of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar in a suburb of Damascus, a Lebanese MP from the terror group’s faction told local media Sunday. The strike, which is attributed to Israel, also killed eight associates of Kuntar.
“Hezbollah will in no way let the death of the martyr Kuntar pass without a price,” said Ali Amar, according to Israel’s Channel 10 television. “The subject of retaliation is in the hands of the relevant commanders, and will determine the way, place and time that we will punish the killers — the Israeli enemy.”
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi also condemned the reported Israeli airstrike that killed Kuntar, calling it “a cowardly act of terror,” according to Syrian state-run SANA news agency.
SANA also quoted a statement from the Syrian parliament condemning the “terrorist crime,” and said that Syria is fighting “takfiri [apostate] Zionist terrorism, led by several countries [and] topped by the Israeli occupation entity.”
The statement also accused other regional nations, including Sunni Arab states, of acting as accomplices to the strike in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari strongly condemned the assassination, calling it a “crime” and asking the world “to condemn such terrorist and aggressive acts” by Israel, The semi-official Iranian Fars news agency reported.
Kuntar’s brother, Bassem, told AFP that he was more than ever committed to wiping Israel off the map. “The resistance will end only when the Zionist entity disappears,” he vowed.
The Palestinian group terror Hamas also issued a condemnation of the attack, calling it a “heinous crime.”
There was no Israeli confirmation that it had carried out the attack, although officials expressed satisfaction over Kuntar’s death.
A Lebanese Druze, Kuntar became infamous for a brutal 1979 raid from Lebanon in which he helped kidnap an Israeli family from Nahariya, then smashed the head of a four-year-old Israeli girl, Einat Haran, with his rifle butt, killing her. Three other Israelis, including her father, Danny Haran, 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 IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. After that, 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.
Smadar Haran, the widow and bereaved mother of the Israeli victims whom Kuntar brutally killed in 1979, hailed the alleged Israeli assassination of the Hezbollah operative as “historic justice” and the “closing of a circle.” She said Kuntar’s death was not a matter of “revenge,” and highlighted that Kuntar had continued to orchestrate attacks on Israel.
Nina Keren, mother of Danny Haran, told Channel 10, “There is no place here for consolation, since because of [Kuntar] I will have no grandchildren.”
Reports said that Kuntar was assassinated not as revenge for his past actions, but rather because he was planning fresh attacks against Israel.
Joshua Davidovich and agencies contributed to this report.