High-ranking Hezbollah official killed in fight with Syrian militants
A high-ranking Hezbollah official was killed on Monday in the ongoing battles between the party's fighters and Syrian opposition militants in Syria's al-Qalamoun region, which is strategically located on the border with Lebanon.
The clashes also took the lives of three other Hezbollah fighters.
These deaths were confirmed by websites close to Syria's opposition and others to Hezbollah.
They identified the slain party official as Ibrahim al-Hajj, a.k.a. Abou Mohammed Salman, and revealed that he hailed from the Bekaa town of Qalya but resided in Mashghara.
"With pride the Islamic resistance in Hezbollah and the Bekaa town of Qalya announce the death of a new heroic martyr Hajj Ibrahim al-Hajj, al-Hajj Salman, who died while performing his holy jihadi duty through resisting against Takfiri and Wahhabi mercenaries” a post published on South Lebanon website said on Monday.
Meanwhile, websites close to the Syrian opposition claimed that al-Hajj was close to Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
And on Tuesday, South Lebanon announced the death of three fighters “who died performing their jihadi duty.”
They are Hussein Bassam Shouqair from the southern town of Baraachit, Mahmoud Riyad Monzer from the Bekaa's Shmestar and Ali Moussa Moussa from Sohmor, also in the Bekaa, said the website.
The same source on Monday revealed also the death of Ahmed Ibrahim Abdul Sater, who hails from the Bekaa village of Iaat.
Many Hezbollah fighters have recently died in the renewed clashes against Syrian rebels on several fighting fronts in al-Qalamoun villages, as the Syrian regime claims that it is bombing the Arsal plains “to prevent terrorists' infiltration.”
Earlier in July, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least seven Hezbollah members were killed and 31 others were injured in the ongoing border clashes.
Giving a higher death toll of eight Hezbollah fighters killed, a wounded member of the party told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity: "The battle was very fierce, and at very close quarters."
The long and porous border region is often used by smugglers, refugees and fighters.
In April, Syrian forces backed by allied fighters from Hezbollah retook control of most of the Qalamoun region.
But Syrian activists say hundreds of opposition fighters have taken refuge in the caves and hills in the border area, using it as a rear base from which to launch attacks inside Syria.
Last month, Lebanese army forces carried out raids in the area targeting militants with ties to "terrorist groups", an army statement said at the time.