Israel denies killing Hezbollah bigwig

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AP

A Hezbollah flag hangs on yellow police tape sealing off the scene where Hassan al-Laqis, a senior commander for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, was gunned down outside his home, about three kilometers south-west of Beirut.

Jerusalem -

Israel on Wednesday denied allegations by Hezbollah that it was behind the assassination of one of the Lebanese Shi'a movement's top commanders near Beirut.

“This is yet another Pavlovian response from Hezbollah, which makes automatic accusations (against Israel) before even thinking about what's actually happened,” Israel's foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

“Israel has nothing to do with this,” he told AFP.

The slain leader, Hassan Hawlo al-Lakiss, was the most senior Hezbollah figure to be assassinated since Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a Damascus bombing in 2008, which the group also blamed on Israel.

Both men were part of Hezbollah's secretive top leadership.

Hezbollah early on Wednesday announced that Lakiss had been assassinated during the night at his house in the Hadath region, east of Beirut.

“Direct accusation is aimed of course against the Israeli enemy which had tried to eliminate our martyred brother again and again and in several places but had failed, until yesterday evening,” a Hezbollah statement said. - Sapa-AFP


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