Man Convicted in Assassination of Former Lebanese Prime Minister Was Part of Hizbullah Hit Squad

(Washington Post) Souad Mekhennet and Joby Warrick - Salim Jamil Ayyash, 56, a Hizbullah operative convicted last week by the Dutch-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 killing of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, was part of a dedicated hit squad that carried out at least four other assassinations under orders from Hizbullah, current and former security officials said, citing previously undisclosed intelligence. The still-active assassination team, Unit 121, is controlled by Hizbullah's top leadership. The unit has been behind a series of deadly car bombings targeting Lebanese military and political leaders and journalists over at least a decade. Ayyash was a commander of Unit 121, the officials said. The existence of the assassination team undercuts speculation that Hariri died at the hands of rogue operatives who acted without authorization from Hizbullah's top leadership. "It's a highly secretive unit with dozens of operatives, totally disconnected from anything else, taking direct orders from [Hizbullah leader] Hasan Nasrallah," said one official.

2020-08-27 00:00:00

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