Though Israel hasn’t formally taken credit for it, Hezbollah today issued a statement blaming the Israeli military for the death of commander Samir Kuntar, saying he was one of several people killed in an Israeli airstrike against the Syrian capital of Damascus.
A Lebanese-born Druze, Kuntar was a top figure in the Palestinian Liberation Front, and participated in a 1979 raid into Israel. He was ultimately imprisoned by Israel, but released as part of an exchange brokered by Hezbollah. He was reportedly a key commander in the defense of Syrian Druze towns south of Damascus.
News of his death was followed by a handful of rockets fired into Israel from southern Lebanon, apparently by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Israel launched a series of attacks against southern Lebanon in retaliation.
Israel was mum on the Damascus attacks, and said they hold the Lebanese government responsible for the rocket fire, though they apparently caused no damage. There are as yet no casualty figures on the Israeli strikes into southern Lebanon.