THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Monday vowed to avenge Israel’s suspected killing of party commander Samir Kuntar in Syria two day earlier, positioning Lebanon for a new potential confrontation with its southern neighbor.
“My message today is, from now on, any cadre from Hezbollah that is killed (by Israel), we will hold Israel responsible,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
“Kuntar is from us (Hezbollah). He is a commander in the resistance. Hezbollah will practice its right to avenge Kuntar’s death.”
Kuntar, who spent 29 years in an Israeli jail before being released in a 2008 prisoner swap with Hezbollah, was killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike in a Damascus suburb Saturday night.
Nasrallah rejected statements by Syrian opposition groups claiming the attack, saying he had “no doubt” that Israeli warplanes were behind the strikes that reduced the several-story residential building where Kuntar was staying in Jaramana to rubble.
Nasrallah revealed that following Kuntar’s release from Israeli prison, he expressed a willingness to carry out any operation against Israel on behalf of Hezbollah on the southern Lebanese border, in the occupied Golan Heights, or inside Israel.
“Kuntar told me after he was freed from prison: ‘I left Palestine to return to it and I am willing on carrying out any act of resistance from today’.”
Israel is believed to have been behind more than a dozen strikes in Syria targeting either Hezbollah, the Syrian army or their interests over the past three years, but has not officially acknowledged or denied any of the attacks.
The strike on Kuntar’s building was Israel’s first on a Hezbollah target since Jan. 18 when its war jets targeted a convoy in southern Syria, killing six party fighters and an Iranian general.
Hezbollah retaliated 10 days later by targeting an Israeli military patrol in the occupied Shebaa Farms, killing two soldiers and wounding seven.
A Spanish U.N. peacekeeper was also killed in Israeli shelling responding to the attack.
Thousands of people poured onto the streets of Beirut southern suburb earlier Monday to pay their respects to Kuntar during his funeral.
Source: The Daily Star