Lebanese Qantar Martyred in Israeli Raid

Lebanese Qantar Martyred in Israeli RaidLebanese Qantar Martyred in Israeli Raid

Lebanese resistance leader Samir Qantar was martyred in an Israeli strike that hit a building in the Damascus district of Jaramana in the early hours on Sunday, the Lebanese Hezbollah group said.

The powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group said Qantar was martyred in an Israeli aerial raid on a residential district of the Syrian capital Damascus but gave no details.

An Israeli Cabinet minister welcomed on Sunday the martyrdom of Qantar, but stopped short of confirming allegations that Israel was responsible, Reuters reported.

Israel released Qantar, a Druze, in 2008 as part of a prisoner swap with the Lebanese Hezbollah group and he is believed to have joined the group since. Druze is a political and religious sect of Islamic origin, living chiefly in Lebanon and Syria.

He was welcomed as a hero in Beirut and he married a Lebanese Shia woman from a Hezbollah family.

Israel has struck Syria several times since the start of the war five years ago, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for Hezbollah.

After his release, Qantar kept a low public profile. But it is believed that he had become a commander in Hezbollah, which has sent hundreds of its members to fight alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.

However, it was not immediately clear what role Qantar, born in 1962, plays in the fighting in Syria

The National Defense Forces in Jaramana, which are part of a nationwide grouping of loyalist Syrian militias under the umbrella of the army, mourned Qantar and one of its commanders on its Facebook page.

In January, an Israeli strike in Syria martyred six members of Hezbollah, including a commander and the son of the group’s late military leader Imad Moughniyah in the province of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Syrian government loyalists blamed Israel for the attack on Sunday.

“Two Israeli warplanes carried out the raid which targeted the building in Jaramana and struck the designated place with four long range missiles,” the NDF in Jaramana Facebook page said.

Jaramana is a bastion of government support and is the home of many of Syria’s Druze minority as well as Christians.