Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

Hezbollah official 'assassinated' in south Lebanon: Iranian media

Ali Mohammed Younis was in charge of tracking spies and collaborators, Iran's Fars news agency reported

Hezbollah flags flutter along an empty street in south Lebanon amid the coronavirus outbreak. Reuters  
Hezbollah flags flutter along an empty street in south Lebanon amid the coronavirus outbreak. Reuters  

A Hezbollah commander was "assassinated" in southern Lebanon, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

Ali Mohammed Younis, who was in charge of tracking spies and collaborators, was killed by unknown people, Iran’s official Fars news agency reported.

The agency said he was prominently involved in anti-espionage missions.

The Lebanese state-run National News Agency reported that a man from the town of Jebchit was found dead next to his car on the road linking Qaaqaaiet Al Jisr and Sir Gharbieh. He was reportedly shot with four bullets in the chest and had at least two stab wounds. Although the report did not name the man, it ran the same photograph of a body next to a vehicle that was used by Fars.

The motive behind the killing was no immediately clear.

The NNA said that patrols from various security agencies attended the scene and an investigation was under way.

A police source told The National that the death was not being treated as political.

Hezbollah officials contacted declined to discuss Younis's death. A source in the organisation confirmed to the Associated Press that Younes was a member, but would not provide further details.

Police said that one person had been arrested and a second person was wanted in connection with the killing.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to make an address on Tuesday.

Iran-backed Hezbollah is Lebanon's strongest military force and a political powerhouse, and also boasts significant organisational and services might in the country.

Hezbollah has fought in neighbouring Syria's civil war to back the Iranian-allied government in Damascus. Hezbollah is also bitter enemies with Israel, and the two sides fought to a stalemate in a monthlong war in 2006.

Last week, US President Donald Trump warned Iran and its proxies against what he said was a planned "sneak attack" against US interests in Iraq. Hezbollah has a presence in the country and cooperates with Iranian-backed forces there.

Mr Trump said they would pay a "heavy price" in the form of a major US retaliation.

"Upon information and belief, Iran or its proxies are planning a sneak attack on US troops and/or assets in Iraq. If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!" Mr Trump said in a post on Twitter.

Updated: April 6, 2020 11:43 AM



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