A brigade of the Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s assassination of Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar.
The Lebanese child-killer died in an air strike that targeted a structure on the outskirts of Damascus.
Pundits initially assumed the attack came from Israeli fighter pilots, although the Jerusalem government never confirmed the report. In addition, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization announced that Kuntar had been assassinated by Israel.
The FSA vowed Monday in its statement to Arab media that it would also target other Hezbollah fighters in future attacks, the Lebanon-based Daily Star reported.
The group explained in a video that Hezbollah blamed Israel for the strike in order to avoid upsetting fellow terrorists – “the morale of its mercenaries” – according to the Lebanese Naharnet website. Hezbollah would rather have lost a skirmish to Israel than to the FSA, the opposition force said.
Nine others were killed in the attack that eliminated Kuntar. The Lebanese Druze terrorist was age 16 when he murdered an Israeli father in front of his four-year-old daughter before smashing her head with the butt of his rifle, killing her.
Kuntar, at that time a member of the now-defunct Palestine Liberation Front, spent decades behind bars in Israel before his release in a prisoner swap with Hezbollah that brought the return of the bodies of two IDF reservists, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. The two were kidnapped while on patrol and murdered in a cross-border raid launched by the group to ignite the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Upon his release Kuntar became a member of Hezbollah, eventually working his way to become a commander of terrorist operations in the Syrian Golan Heights.
Hezbollah guerrillas have for years been fighting the opposition forces on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, almost since the start of the savage civil war in March 2011.
The terror group is generously funded and equipped by its benefactor, Iran, which has also sent its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters to help fend off the rebel forces. In addition, Russia has also recently added its own forces to the massive shipments of weaponry it had already been sending to Assad.
Despite all the troops and firepower shoring up the Assad regime, little remains of his domain, other than a small area around Damascus. The rest of the country has essentially been carved up between FSA factions, various independent Islamist groups, those associated with Al Qaeda – such as the Jabhat al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) – and Da’esh (ISIS).