Suspected Israeli raid kills Hezbollah militant Samir Qantar

Suspected Israeli air raid kills Lebanese Hezbollah militant Samir Qantar in Syrian capital Damascus

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (front 2nd R) speaks at a rally, to celebrate the return of Samir Qantar (front 2nd L) and the other released Lebanese prisoners, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon in this July 16, 2008 file photo.

Updated Dec 21, 2015

Significant Lebanese Hezbollah militant Samir Qantar was killed early on Sunday in a suspected Israeli air strike that hit a building in the Damascus district of Jaramana.

Iranian-backed Shiite militia Hezbollah said Qantar, born in 1962, was killed by an Israeli air raid on a residential district but gave no details. It is still unclear what role Qantar played in the Syrian conflict.

Bashar al Assad (R) welcomes released Lebanese prisoner Samir Qantar in Damascus, Syria in this November 24, 2008 file photo.

An Israeli cabinet minister welcomed Qantar’s death but did not provide clear confirmation that it was in fact an Israeli air strike that killed him.

"It is good that people like Samir Qantar will not be part of our world," Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Gallant told Israel Radio.

"I am not confirming or denying anything to do with this matter" said Gallant when asked to confirm whether the air raids were Israeli.

Who is Samir Qantar?

Qantar was a Druze militia man in Hezbollah, he was released from Israeli prison in 2008 as part of a prisoner swap with the Shiite militia, he was welcomed as a hero in Beirut and he married a Lebanese Shiite woman from a Hezbollah family. Qantar had reportedly orchestrated a 1979 attack in Israel that killed 4 people.

Syrian state media blamed “terrorist groups” for the attack. However, Syrian regime loyalists said on social media that Israel conducted the attack to kill Lebanese Hezbollah member Samir Qantar.

"Two Israeli warplanes carried out the raid which targeted the building in Jaramana and struck the designated place with four long range missiles," said the National Defence Forces group, which has sent hundreds of its members to fight alongside forces loyal to regime leader Bashar al Assad.

Released Lebanese prisoner Samir Qantar (C) attends a rally at Ain al-Tineh village on the Syrian side in the Golan Heights in front of Majdal Shams village, in the Israeli-occupied area in the 1967 war, in this November 24, 2008 file photo.

"His body has been sent to a Damascus hospital moments ago.”

Qantar’s brother mourned him on his Facebook page, without giving no details about his death, saying his brother was a “martyr.”

"With pride we mourn the martyrdom of the leader Samir Qantar and we are honored to join the families of martyrs," Bassam Kantar said on his Facebook page.

Israel, which has conducted attacks in Syria several times, last time being January of this year, has killed six Hezbollah members, including a commander and the son of the group’s late leader Imad Moughniyah near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

TRTWorld and agencies