Senior Hezbollah commander said killed in Syria
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Senior Hezbollah commander said killed in Syria

Rebels claim to have slain Marwan Mughniyeh in the Qalamoun region, where regime troops have been making gains

Syrian regime forces drive on May 9, 2015 in the Qalamun region, after they seized control of several hilltops in the mountainous area with the support of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement (AFP PHOTO / STR)
Syrian regime forces drive on May 9, 2015 in the Qalamun region, after they seized control of several hilltops in the mountainous area with the support of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement (AFP PHOTO / STR)

Marwan Mughniyeh, a senior commander in Hezbollah whose cousin Imad Mughniyeh was allegedly assassinated by Israel, was killed in fierce battles in Syria on Friday, Syrian opposition sources said.

Mughniyeh was killed in a battle with rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the Qalamoun region, northeast of Damascus, the sources said.

He was reported to have been the commander of special operations for the Lebanese Shiite militia, which has been fighting alongside regime forces in the Syrian civil war.

Hezbollah announced Saturday on its Al-Manar television channel that, together with regime forces, it had taken the Al-Nusra Front’s largest base in the region, at Sahlet al-Maaysra.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to expel the insurgents from the area. Since then, the group has taken several positions with regime air support, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Syrian military sources.

The Qalamoun region straddles the Syria-Lebanon border and was a rebel stronghold until a major operation last year by Syrian regime troops backed by Hezbollah.

A Syrian source on the ground told AFP that Syrian troops “and allies” had advanced around Assal al-Ward, a small regime-controlled village near the Lebanese border, and that “dozens of terrorists” were killed.

“Regime forces and Hezbollah seized control of a number of hilltops overlooking Assal al-Ward, after intense aerial shelling and attacks with Iranian-made weapons,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

He emphasized that the battles “were being led by Hezbollah, with the participation of the Syrian army, notably the Republican Guard.”

Rebel forces claimed that dozens of Hezbollah men were killed in the battles.

Marwan Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah commander said to have been slain in Syria on Friday, May 8, 2015 (screen capture: Twitter)
Marwan Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah commander said to have been slain in Syria on Friday, May 8, 2015 (screen capture: Twitter)

Marwan Mughniyeh’s cousin Imad Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 in a joint Mossad-CIA operation, according to details leaked to Newsweek and The Washington Post earlier this year.

Mughniyeh, a top commander in the group was killed by a car bomb outside his apartment in Damascus, Syria.

He was implicated in some of the terror group’s major attacks, including the 1992 bombing at the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA building in the Argentinian capital, in which 85 were killed.

Imad Mughniyeh’s son Jihad Mughniyeh was killed, along with several other Hezbollah operatives and an Iranian official, in a January 18, 2015, strike airstrike on the Golan Heights widely attributed to Israel.

AFP contributed to this report.

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