Hizbullah says Israel behind assassination of top member in Beirut car blast
A senior commander of Hizbullah's "Islamic Resistance" military wing Ghaleb Awali, 40, was assassinated in a car bomb ambush on Monday.
According to Al Manar television, the explosion took place in South Beirut's Mouawad neighborhood. It added the car blew up when "one of the strugglers in the resistance" started the engine to leave his home.
Shortly after the blast, an unknown group, dubbed Jund El Sham (Soldiers of Damascus), claimed responsibility for the attack. The group declared its debut at south Lebanon's Ein El Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp two weeks ago.
"We have executed one of the symbols of treachery, the Shiite Ghaleb Awali," Jund El-Sham's statement said, according to AFP.
However, a statement by Hizbullah dismissed this claim as an Israeli-sponsored hoax, holding Israel's Mossad secret service directly responsible for the assassination.
A Lebanese security official said the blast went off at 9:05 a.m. local time (0605 GMT) in the predominantly Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Harat Hreik, a Hizbullah stronghold.
Hizbullah said in a statement that Awali died instantly, though a Lebanese security official said he was rushed to a nearby Hizbullah-run hospital where he died soon after.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Israel ultimately was responsible for Awali's death and promised to cut off the hands of those who killed him.
Awali, he said, was a member of the team who in later years was supporting the Palestinians against Israel.
"He's the martyr of the road to Palestine, a martyr of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in confronting the Zionist project," Nasrallah said. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)