Lebanese Hezbollah militant leader Samir Qantar was killed Saturday night by Israeli air strike in Damascus, reports Syrian state media.
Israel has welcomed the death without confirming responsibility for the air strike that killed Qantar on the residential district of Jaramana city, outside the Syrian capital.
Formally Israel has been keeping itself away from the civil war in Syria that began about five years ago but bombed Hezbollah targets.
Confirming the death of Qantar, Hezbollah group said he was martyred in an Israeli raid. However, the group did not reveal which role he played in the Syrian conflict.
According to Syrian state media, earlier in 2015 Qantar was involved in a major offensive in Quneitra, close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Rebels in southern Syria too confirmed he was involved in battles in 2015 defending a Syrian air base near the Druze majority city of Sweida, near Jordan border.
Hezbollah is a powerful Shi’ite Muslim group and has been sending fighters to Syria in huge number to fight supporting the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against rebels who have been trying to topple him since 2011.
Qantar was released from Israel in 2008 in a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah and it is believed he thereafter joined the group. After his release he had kept a low public profile.
He was put behind the bars in Israel for being involved in a raid by Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) in Israel in 1979 that killed five people including two young children. Then he was just 16 years old.
PLF is just one such organization in Palestine that has carried out several attacks in Israel and other regions for past many years.
Qantar was from minority Druze community and brutality of the attack more than three decades ago made him the most notorious terrorists for Israel and the assault became a permanent momory for Israelis.
According to former national security adviser of Israel, Yaakov Amidror, Hezbollah would be seeking revenge for his killing but it would be also busy fighting in Syria to get a new front with Israel.
He added, “It would not be in their interest, and if they did so, they would have a big problem.”
Qantar would be buried on Monday, said official media of Hezbollah. It would be done in a Shi’ite cemetery in its main stronghold of Dahiya in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said such Israeli acts have been regular and are the most dangerous forms of state terrorism.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al Zubi too blamed on Israel for such killing without briefing further details.
Qantar was born in 1962.