A prominent Lebanese publisher and strong critic of the Shi'ite militant Hezbollah group was found dead in his car Thursday morning, shot in the head with two bullets, a security official said.
Lokman Slim, a longtime Shi'ite political activist and researcher, was found in Addoussieh village in the southern province of Nabatiyeh, after he had gone missing for several hours, the official said.
One of the security sources said Slim's phone was found earlier on the side of a road in southern Lebanon, where Shi'ite Hezbollah has a dominant presence. It was the first such alleged killing of a leading anti-Hezbollah activist in years.
His wife, Monika Borgmann, and his sister had posted on social media earlier that Lokman was not answering his phone for hours and he had not been seen since Wednesday evening.
The circumstances of Slim’s death were not clear and there were no immediate details.
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The security official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said an investigation is underway to determine what happened.
A relative said the family found out about his death from a news alert while at a police station to report his disappearance.
At the family home in the southern suburbs of Beirut, family members sat in silence and shock, while some wept.
Slim's criticism of Hezbollah has faced rebuke from supporters of the armed movement, who sometimes called him "an embassy Shi'ite," a term accusing opponents of being tools of the United States.
Washington deems Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has ramped up sanctions against its officials and allies in Lebanon in recent years.Hezbollah did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Slim and his wife lived in the southern suburbs of Beirut where they ran Umam Productions, a film production house. His family owns a publishing house and Slim often hosted public debates and political forums.