Hezbollah holds funeral for senior commander killed in Syria

AP News
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Posted: Oct 12, 2015 12:58 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group held a funeral Monday for a senior commander who was killed in Syria while fighting along government forces against insurgents.

Hassan Hussein al-Haj was killed last week in Syria, where the Shiite movement has sent thousands of fighters to back President Bashar Assad's forces. Hezbollah has lost hundreds of fighters in Syria since it openly joined the war in 2013.

Hundreds of people marched in the streets of the southern Lebanese village of Loueizeh as scouts in blue uniforms carried red religious flags and a poster of al-Haj.

Supporters carried Al-Haj's coffin, draped in a yellow Hezbollah flag. His two daughters, dressed in black, cried as they held portraits of him.

"You were not only an official or chief of operations. You were a commander and a symbol to all your brother fighters," senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine said during the funeral.

Special prayers were held later before al-Haj was buried.

Local media said al-Haj was killed in the northwestern province of Idlib, where Syrian government forces and Hezbollah fighters have launched an offensive against insurgents under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said al-Haj led attacks against Israeli forces when they occupied southern Lebanon until 2000.