Top Hezbollah Commander Assassinated

Hassan al-Laqis shot outside his home in Beirut
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 4, 2013 10:34 AM CST

(Newser) – Gunmen assassinated a senior Hezbollah commander outside his home today in southern Beirut, a major breach of the Shiite militant group's security as it struggles to maintain multiple fronts while it fights alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria. The overnight shooting of Hassan al-Laqis, described as a founding member of the group and one of its top commanders, was a huge blow to the Iranian-backed group that dominates power in Lebanon.

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Hezbollah's heavy-handed and very open involvement in the civil war next door has enraged the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels seeking to oust Assad, and those sectarian divisions have spilled over into Lebanon and exposed the group and its Shiite supporters to retaliatory attacks. The militant group quickly blamed its archenemy Israel for the assassination, but Israeli officials denied any involvement. (Read more Hezbollah stories.)

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