Samir Kuntar was among the most notorious and vicious terrorists.

A Druze, he was part of a group that landed in Israel in 1979, took a family hostage, and smashed a 4-year old child’s head against a rock with his rifle butt:

On April 22, 1979, Quntar, commanding a small unit of four armed men, piloted a small dinghy from Lebanon to the northern Israeli town of Nahariya. Undetected by the Israeli Navy, the terrorists struck at midnight and wasted little time: spotting a police car, they opened fire and killed one officer, Eliyahu Shahar. Then, they proceeded into the town, forcing their way into the nearby home of the Haran family.

Danny Haran, 31, and his daughter Einat, 4, were taken hostage. Smadar, Danny’s wife, managed to grab her infant daughter Yael, 2, and hide in the apartment’s narrow attic. Terrified, and anxious to keep the child from crying, Smadar accidentally choked her baby to death. Quntar and his men, meanwhile, took Danny and Einat to the beach, where they were met by Israeli soldiers and police officers. A short firefight ensued, but Quntar had other targets in mind. He shot Danny in the back at close range, murdering him in front of his small daughter. Then, he took Einat and smashed her skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle.

[Danny Haran and children killed by Samir Kuntar]

[Danny Haran and children]

[Kuntar's rifle butt which was found to have traces of four-year-old victim Einat Haran's brain tissue]

[Kuntar’s rifle butt which was found to have traces of four-year-old victim Einat Haran’s brain tissue]

In 2003 the mother in the family wrote about what happened that night.:

Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat. They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. “This is just like what happened to my mother,” I thought….

As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl’s skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.

By the time we were rescued from the crawl space, hours later, Yael, too, was dead. In trying to save all our lives, I had smothered her.

In July 2008, Kuntar was released from his life term in prison in a deal with Hezbollah. He returned to a hero’s welcome:

In recent years Kuntar has headed up Hezbollah’s attempts, with Iranian support, to open a front against Israel on the Golan Heights

In September 2015, Kuntar was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S.:

The Department of State has designated Lebanese born Samir Kuntar as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. As a result of the designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Kuntar has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with him or to his benefit.

There had been numerous attempts to kill Kuntar, and false reports of his death.

Overnight in a suburb of Damascus Kuntar and several other terrorist leaders were killed in an Israeli airstrike. This video is said to show the results of the airstrike:

Kuntar’s death has been confirmed by Hezbollah and Syrian TV:

What comes next?

Expect Hezbollah retaliation, like it did after the January 2015 Israeli strike which took out several senior Hezbollah operatives in Syria, including the son of legendary Hezbollah mastermind Imad Mughniyeh (himself believed assassinated in Damascus by Israel), plus an Iranian General. That retaliation consisted of an attack on an Israeli patrol killing two Israel soldiers.

Will Hezbollah risk a major conflict at this time when it is stretched thin in Syria and battling ISIS and other anti-Assad forces? Hezbollah losses are running high in that conflict, reportedly well over 1000 plus several thousand wounded.