Senior Hezbollah Leader Assassinated

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both reported the death of senior commander Hassan al-Laqees. According to the Journal, he was “believed to be the chief of Hezbollah’s rocket development, according to a form Israeli intelligence official.”

Mr. al-Laqees was attacked outside of his home south of Beirut. This attack occurred a day after Hezbollah’s top leader, Hassan Nasrallah, accused Saudi Arabia for being responsible for a bombing in Beirut that occurred last month.

According to both papers, Hezbollah accused the Israelis of the attack, but they denied any affiliation.

“Israeli officials strongly denied involvement in the assassination—itself a rarity, as Israel usually refuses to confirm or deny its involvement in such operations. But Israeli officials admitted they tried to kill Mr. al-Laqees in 2006, when Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war,” as reported in the Journal. 

Instead, a previously unknown group called the Free Sunnis of Baalbek claimed responsibility for murdering al-Laqees, “which claimed that the “jihadist operation was implemented by free Sunni lions from Lebanon” in a Twitter message,” from the WSJ article. 

The coverage provided by the Journal was thorough, to say the least. The reporters included every incident that could have encouraged al-Laqees to be attacked. The article was too much to read all at once, by trying to show all of the groups involved and all of the finger pointing that occurs. The title is awkward, as well: “Killing a Blow to Hezbollah, Lebanon.” How does one ‘kill’ a ‘blow’ exactly? I understand what they are trying to say, but the wording is awkward in my opinion.

The Times article did a much better job in this case. The two reporters’ article was around 750 words. They did mention some of the other groups at play in this conflict, but kept their focus tight around al-Laqees’ murder. 

Some details are missing from this story, but that’s due to the fact that the media doesn’t know, or isn’t revealing, what exactly al-Laqees’ role was in Hezbollah. 

“Hezbollah, in keeping with the deep secrecy surrounding its military structure and operations, did not specify what role Mr. Laqees played in the organization or how senior he was. But Matthew Levitt, the author of “Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God,” said that in the late 1990s Mr. Laqees had been a “very, very senior” figure, in charge of procuring supplies for Hezbollah from Canada, including computers and night-vision goggles,” from the Times article. 

The impact of this story will not be affected here in the U.S. This war between Israel and Hezbollah has been going on for some time. It is another sad update rising from the tension in the Middle East. The truth of this story is that a man was murdered. 

In the Journal, the reporters wrote, “The assassination illustrates Lebanon’s vulnerability to nascent militant groups that are thriving on the back of Syria’s civil war and funding from the Gulf to rebels there.”

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