Funeral processions for Hezbollah in S. Lebanon
Six Hezbollah fighters were killed Sunday when an Israeli helicopter fired missiles at two vehicles in Syria's Golan Heights. (AFP/File)
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Hundreds of mourners carried the yellow flag-draped coffins of three Hezbollah fighters in three separate funerals in south Lebanon Tuesday, amid an air of pride and defiance following the weekend's deadly Israeli airstrike on a party convoy in Syria.
Hezbollah flags and military fatigues swamped the town of Arab Salim in Nabatieh, as the coffin of field commander Mohammad Issa arrived at his hometown to an outpouring of grief and anger, with moments of celebratory gunfire peppered throughout.
Mourners yelled out “Death to Israel” and “We will do anything for you, Hussein,” referring to revered Shiite figure and grandson of Prophet Mohammad, Hussein Ibn-Ali.
Issa was one of six Hezbollah fighters killed Sunday when an Israeli helicopter fired missiles at two vehicles travelling through the Syrian town of Qunaitra in the Golan Heights. An Iranian commander was also killed in the attack.
The Arab Salim funeral procession, which included a marching band and a military procession, began near the Sayed al-Shouhada complex, and was attended by Hezbollah's executive council head Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, Hezbollah's Executive Council Chief Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, and several other notable party figures.
The scene was similar in Yohmor, also in Nabatieh, where a sea of mourners spilled onto the streets to commemorate the death of Ali Hasan Ibrahim, 21, the youngest of the six killed.
“Twenty years after the martyrdom of the father, the son is martyred in the same way,” Hezbollah MP Nawaf al-Moussawi said during the funeral procession.
The resistance was “fully ready to deal with the enemy in a manner that would transform the assassination from a victory that could be used by an electoral candidate to a shame smeared on his forehead,” said Moussawi, a reference to upcoming polls in Israel in which Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu will be seeking re-election.
The funeral procession, which was studded with Hezbollah banners and flags, moved towards the town’s husseiniya, a mosque for Shiite ceremonies.
In the town of Khiam in Marjayoun, the father of Ghazi Ali al-Dawi marched ahead of his son’s coffin with a somber expression and a party banner wrapped around his neck. Men dressed in military fatigues carried his casket across his hometown as Dawi’s baby daughter was lifted up above the crowds.
The procession was headed by Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad. It began near Dawi’s home and continued until he was laid to rest in the town’s cemetery.
Another of the strike's victims, Jihad Mughniyeh - son of top Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, was laid to rest earlier Monday in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Two more who lost their lives in the Israeli airstrike are set to be buried in south Lebanon Wednesday, according to Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV.