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Hezbollah commander shot dead near Beruit

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senior Hezbollah commander was shot dead outside his home in Lebanon, the Middle East tinderbox that is home base to Hezbollah, the pro-Iranian terrorist group backing the Syrian government that country’s civil war.
The Lebanese Shiite group confirmed Wednesday that veteran commander Hassan al-Laqees was gunned down Tuesday in Hadath, a mixed Christian-Shiite neighborhood six miles south of Beirut, according to the Washington Post.
The killing is sure to escalate such attacks and bombings that are drawing Lebanon deeper into the region’s factional fighting.
Without proof and before investigation, the militant Iranian-backed group immediately blamed Israel for the death of its leader and threatened Israel would pay the consequences. Israel has flatly denied any involvement.
Analysts say that the killing could be the work of any number of warring factions from the region and that the incident sharply escalates tensions between the Sunni and Shiite who are competing for regional influence.
With the Obama administration and other Western leaders are warming up to Iran and Syria’s government is gaining ground against rebels with Hezbollah’s help. Many political analysts expected Hezbollah to lay the blame on Israel because it is a familiar knee-jerk reaction.
“There are so many players around who could be involved in this,” said Elie Hindy, assistant professor for international affairs at Lebanon’s Notre Dame University. “Hezbollah has created so many enemies around it — regional enemies, Islamist enemies, Israeli enemies — and that does not include invisible possibilities.”
“Israel automatically stands accused of responsibility,” the Hezbollah statement said, warning that Israel will bear “all consequences of this heinous crime.”
While there are many possible suspects, the professionalism of the operation suggested “an intelligence service in the region which has an interest in escalating Shiite-Sunni tension,” said Hilal Khashan, professor of political science at the American University of Beirut.
Meanwhile, a little-known Sunni Islamist group called Ahrar al-Sunna Baalbek Brigade claimed responsibility for the Hezbollah chief’s killing on Twitter. The group claims it killed Laqees to even the score for Hezbollah attacks on Sunnis in the eastern Bekaa region of Baalbek.

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