Just one day after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave a gloating television interview about the triumph of the Iranian nuclear deal, the former head of Hezbollah’s rocket forces, someone involved in procuring arms from Iran, and a close associate of Nasrallah was assassinated outside his home in Beirut.

Via Times of Israel:

Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah on Wednesday accused Israel of assassinating a top operative outside his home overnight.

A statement released by Hezbollah said Hassan al-Laqis was killed near his house in Beirut as he was coming home from work.

Laqis was at one point one of the main commanders of Hezbollah’s rocket division, which fired hundreds of missiles at Israel. According to reports in the Lebanese media, Israel tried to assassinate him during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and failed.

A statement released by Hezbollah said Hassan al-Laqis was killed near his house in Beirut as he was coming home from work.

Laqis was at one point one of the main commanders of Hezbollah’s rocket division, which fired hundreds of missiles at Israel. According to reports in the Lebanese media, Israel tried to assassinate him during the 2006 Second Lebanon War and failed.

Via WaPo:

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor denied that Israel was involved, the Associated Press reported.

“Israel has nothing to do with this incident,” Palmor said. “These automatic accusations are an innate reflex with Hezbollah. They don’t need evidence, they don’t need facts, they just blame anything on Israel.”

The commander was shot five times in the head and neck, the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper reported, citing an unidentified security official. Hezbollah said Laqees had spent his life serving the “resistance” against Israel and lost a son during the group’s 2006 war with Israel. He was previously the target of several failed assassination attempts, it said.

The Daily Star of Lebanon reports an unknown Sunni jihadist group claimed responsibility:

A hitherto unknown group, the “Free Sunni Brigades in Baalbek” claimed responsibility for “this heroic, jihadist operation.”

In a tweet, the group hailed the assassination of “a commander in the Satan party [Hezbollah] Hassan Lakkis.”

(Featured image source: BBC YouTube)

Updates: More on al-Laqui, from Haaretz:

Laqis was an elite member of Hezbollah’s military wing and for many years served as Hezbollah’s technology and arms chief. He also maintained extensive contact with Iranian and Syrian intelligence. He was known to Western intelligence since the 1980s and was considered very knowledgeable of the secrets of Hezbollah’s operations.

From The Daily Star of Lebanon:

“Lakkis was involved in scientific development and played a key role in developing Hezbollah’s unmanned aerial vehicles program,” a source close to the Lebanese group told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity

A security source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Lakkis was also in charge of smuggling arms to Gaza and Egypt.

It’s probably just a coincidence, but today was the anniversary of the release of American hostage Terry Anderson on December 4, 1991, after being held for years by Hezbollah: