Israeli strike in Syria said to target Samir Kuntar
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Israeli strike in Syria said to target Samir Kuntar

Notorious terrorist spent decades in prison in Israel before his release in a 2008 prisoner exchange with Hezbollah

Illustrative: An explosion on the Syrian Golan Heights on June 16, 2015, as the al-Nusra Front fights against Assad's troops near the Syrian Druze village of Hader. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)
Illustrative: An explosion on the Syrian Golan Heights on June 16, 2015, as the al-Nusra Front fights against Assad's troops near the Syrian Druze village of Hader. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

A reported Israeli airstrike on a car in the Syrian Golan Heights targeted notorious terrorist Samir Kuntar, Channel 2 reported Wednesday, based on Arab sources.

Five men were killed in the strike. Three were identified by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as belonging to a Druze militia based in the Syrian Druze village of Hader and loyal to the Assad regime and Hezbollah. The other two men were members of Hezbollah.

“An Israeli plane hit a car inside the town of Hader, killing two men from Hezbollah, and three men from the pro-regime popular committees in the town,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Observatory, a watchdog tracking the civil war raging in Syria since 2011.

Kuntar spent 29 years in Israeli custody over the brutal slaying of four Israelis in a 1979 terror raid on the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, an attack in which he smashed the head of four-year-old Einat Haran with his rifle butt.

Samir Kuntar (Mardetanha /Wikipedia)
Samir Kuntar (Mardetanha /Wikipedia)

After his release in a 2008 prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, Kuntar was celebrated in Lebanon and Syria. He became the leader of a militia based in Hader and loyal to Assad, and has planned multiple attacks against IDF soldiers on the Golan Heights.

The IDF declined to comment on the attack.

Israeli officials have raised alarms over the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters using positions in the Syrian Golan, partially held by rebel forces, to attack Israel.

In January, Israel reportedly carried out an air strike on a group of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters, killing six people, including Hezbollah commander Jihad Mughniyeh and an Iranian general.

Rebel fighters, including Islamists, have almost completely surrounded Hader for over a month after fierce clashes with Assad loyalists.

Israel’s own significant Druze minority has expressed concern that their brethren in Syria would be targeted by rebels there.

Avi Issacharoff and AFP contributed to this report.

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