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Crime

Hezbollah leader 'assassinated' in Lebanon

A commander of Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah has been assassinated outside his home, the group has reported. It has accused Israel of being behind the killing.

Hezbollah commander Hussein al-Laqis was killed outside his Beirut home as he returned from work, the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The Islamic resistance announces the death of one of its leaders, the martyr Hussein al-Laqis, who was assassinated near his house in the Hadath region" east of Beirut, Hezbollah television channel Al Manar said.

The statement gave no details of how he was killed, but said "the accusation is directed at the enemy, Israel."

"This enemy must bear full responsibility for and all the consequences of this heinous crime," it said.

The group said the attack, which occurred around midnight on Tuesday, was the latest in a series of assassination attempts aimed at al-Laqis, who it described as "one of the leaders of the Islamic resistance" against Israel and said the Jewish state.

Allied to Iran, Hezbollah has fought several wars against Israel since its formation in the early 1980s during the Lebanese civil war, most recently during the 34-day war in 2006.

Since then Hezbollah has sent fighters to neighboring Syria to support fellow Iranian ally President Bashar al-Assad against mainly Sunni Muslim rebels. The move has angered Sunni extremists who have threatened retaliation.

ccp/hc (AFP, AP, Reuters)