'Israel Will Pay for Kuntar,' Hezbollah Says as Arch-Terrorist Is Buried in Beirut

Reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus, Kuntar gets full military honors in ceremony in Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiyeh.

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Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Samir Kantar, as supporters carry Palestinian and Hezbollah flags during his funeral in Beirut, Lebanon. December 21, 2015
Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Samir Kantar, as supporters carry Palestinian and Hezbollah flags during his funeral in Beirut, Lebanon. December 21, 2015Credit: Reuters
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Senior Hezbollah operative and arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar was laid to rest Monday afternoon in Beirut, Lebanon after he was killed in an airstrike in Damascus that was widely attributed to Israel by Arab media. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is set to speak Monday evening following the funeral, Syrian media reported.

As the funeral began, Amar al-Moussaoui, who head's Hezbollah's media department, said in a statement that "the Israeli enemy will pay for the assassination of Samir Kuntar."  

Senior Hezbollah official, Hashem Safeieddine, said at Kuntar's funeral that "If the Israelis think by killing Samir Kuntar they have closed an account then they are very mistaken because they know and will come to know that they have instead opened several more," Reuters reported.

Hezbollah's Sayyed Hashem Safieddine speaks near the coffin of Samir Kantar during funeral in Beirut. Lebanon December 21, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Bassem Kuntar, Samir's brother, wrote on his Facebook page on Monday that his brother's casket would be placed in Hezbollah's Beirut-stronghold of Dahiyeh, and said the terror organization would give him a full military funeral.

After Kuntar's assassination, three rockets exploded in northern Israel on Sunday evening, causing no casualties, with Israel responding with artillery fire into Lebanon. 

Preparations for Samir Kuntar's funeral ceremony in Hezbollah's stronghold of Dahiyeh, Beirut. December 20, 2015.Credit: Reuters

The funeral reception began at 1 P.M. and a procession began in Dahiyeh at 3 P.M., to be followed by different events throughout the day, many of which will also commemorate the other casualties of the alleged Israeli attack.

On Wednesday, the brother said, the Druze town of Aabey, where the two were born in Mount Lebanon, would also hold a memorial service for Kuntar, who belonged to the Druze faith. The town is set to commemorate Kuntar throughout the week.

Samir Kuntar poses for a picture during an interview on the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon, October 22, 2008.Credit: AFP

Kuntar has been a top Hezbollah operative since his release from an Israeli prison in a 2008 prisoner swap. Before that, he served 26 years for committing one of the most brutal terror attacks in Israel's history, which killed three out of four members of a young family in Nahariya - an attack that still lives on the Israeli consciousness.

Kuntar's brother also recently published an opinion piece in the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, titled "Back to Palestine" in which he said his brother Samir had rejoined the "resistance" after his release from an Israeli prison and that he was involved in "building defense fronts on the Golan." The claim has been partially confirmed by Arab media, that have said Kuntar has responsible for work near the Golan Heights intended to launch attacks on Israel, and had been fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.

Women mourn Samir Kuntar amid preparations for his funeral ceremony in Hezbollah's stronghold of Dahiyeh, Beirut. December 20, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Indeed, upon his release from prison after nearly three decades, Kuntar received a hero's welcome in Lebanon and Syria, being personally received by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and by Nasrallah, and receiving Syria's highest medal from President Bashar Assad.

Kuntar then climbed the ranks in Hezbollah, and repeatedly pledged to "confront" Israel. For years, he was quoted as calling Israel a "disease" that needs to be taken care of, and has been a loyal Hezbollah operative.

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