Prominent Hezbollah critic killed in Lebanon
One of the security sources said his phone was found on the side of a road.
A prominent Lebanese publisher who criticized the armed Hezbollah movement was shot dead in a car in southern Lebanon on Thursday, the first such killing of a high-profile activist in years.
A judge following the case said the body of Lokman Slim had four bullets in the head and one in the back. One of the security sources said his phone was found on the side of a road.
They said the motive remained unclear.
He was last seen after visiting a poet friend. His wife said he went missing overnight and did not answer his phone.
Hezbollah did not respond to a request for comment on his death, which the French ambassador and Lebanese officials, including the president, called “an assassination”.
The EU ambassador to Lebanon, Ralph Tarraf, demanded an investigation. “We deplore the prevailing culture of impunity,” he wrote in a tweet.
At Slim’s family home in the southern suburbs of Beirut, where Hezbollah holds sway, family members sat in shock. Some wept in silence. A relative said they found out about his death from a news alert while at a police station.
“What a big loss. And they lost a noble enemy too...It’s rare for someone to argue with them and live among them with respect,” his sister Rasha told reporters, without naming Hezbollah.
She said he had not told her of any threats. “Killing is the only language they are fluent in,” she added. “I don’t know how we will go on with our work...It will be hard.”
‘A BIG LOSS’
President Michel Aoun, a political ally of Hezbollah, said he had ordered an investigation into the crime.
Slim’s criticism of Hezbollah faced rebuke from its supporters, who called him “an embassy Shi’ite,” accusing him of being a tool of the United States.
Washington, which classifies Hezbollah as terrorist, has ramped up sanctions against it as part of a campaign to pressure Tehran.
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