A senior commander for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah was gunned down Wednesday outside his home in southern Beirut, security officials said. Hezbollah blamed Israel for the killing, something an official there quickly denied.
Hezbollah immediately announced the death of Hassan al-Laqis and described him as one of the founding members of the group, suggesting he was a high-level commander close to the party’s leadership. It said in a statement al-Laqis was killed as he returned home from work around midnight, without offering details about how he died.
Lebanese security officials said assailants opened fire on al-Laqis with an assault rifle while he was in his car, parked at the residential building where he lived in the Hadath neighborhood, some two miles southwest of Beirut.
He was rushed to a nearby hospital but died early Wednesday from his wounds, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
The Lebanese state news agency later published a photograph it identified as al-Laqis. The image showed a man who appeared to be in his mid-40s, with neatly cut black hair and a graying close-cropped beard, wearing beige-and-khaki military clothing.