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Hezbollah commander killed outside home in Lebanon

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 4, 2013 at 12:28 p.m.

BEIRUT — Gunmen assassinated a senior Hezbollah commander after he parked his car in his apartment building's garage Wednesday in Lebanon's capital, a major breach of the Shiite militant group's security as it struggles to maintain multiple fronts while it fights alongside President Bashar Assad's forces in Syria.

The killing of Hassan al-Laqis, 53, was the latest in a series of attacks against the Iranian-backed group whose heavy-handed and very open involvement in the civil war next door has enraged the overwhelmingly Sunni rebels seeking to oust Assad and fueled sectarian tensions across the region.

The militant group quickly blamed its main enemy Israel, which has a history of taking out Hezbollah leaders but denied any responsibility. Suspicion also fell on Sunni rivals who have claimed responsibility for recent deadly car bombings in Hezbollah strongholds and a double suicide attack targeting the Iranian Embassy in Beirut last month.

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