Key Hezbollah Commander Assassinated in Beirut

Group Blames Israel, But Sunni Faction Claims Credit

A whodunnit mystery with potential international ramifications is emerging today on the streets of Beirut, as senior Hezbollah commander Hassan al-Lakkis was assassinated by a gunman with a silenced pistol in front of his home.

Lakkis reportedly was one of the main commanders in the group’s rocket division, and drove the development of the militia’s drone program. This, along with his reported involvement in smuggling arms to the Gaza Strip, fueled immediate speculation that Israel was behind his killing.

Hezbollah sources said that Lakkis was believed to be on Israel’s “top 50 most wanted list” and had previously survived Israeli air strikes. Security officials said the attack bears the hallmarks of an Israeli hit.

But was it them? Not necessarily, as a Sunni militant faction called the Brigades of the Free Sunnis of Baalbak claimed credit for the assassination. The group is previously unknown, but its statement suggested ties with the Syrian rebellion, meaning this could also be spillover violence from that nation’s civil war, which Hezbollah is involved in.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of