Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar and eight other terrorists were killed in a targeted air strike in the Damascus suburb of Jaramana Saturday night. Kuntar spent 29 years in prison for the brutal murder of an Israeli man and his four-year-old daughter in 1979.
“At 10:15 p.m. on Saturday December 19, Zionist warplanes struck a residential building in Jaramana city in Damascus countryside,” Hezbollah’s Al Manar news agency announced. “The dean of liberated detainees from Israeli prisons, brother Mujahid Samir Kuntar was martyred along with several Syrian citizens in the strike.”
After being freed in a prisoner exchange in 2008, Kuntar had reportedly been organizing Druze on the Syrian Golan Heights to attack Israel, as well as inciting Druze on the Israeli side of the Golan. There were also reports that he had been helping to build up the broader terror infrastructure of Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department named Kuntar a Specially Designated Global Terrorist for playing “an operational role, with the assistance of Iran and Syria, in building up Hizballah’s terrorist infrastructure in the Golan Heights.”
At the age of 16, Kuntar led a group of terrorists that killed a policeman and then captured and killed Danny Haran and his daughter, Einat, on the beach in Nahariya in northern Israel. He shot Danny in front of Einat, and then killed her by smashing her head against a rock. The Times of Israel reported that Roni Haran, Danny’s brother said, “Samir Kuntar never regretted his actions, and there is a small consolation in this [his assassination], although it doesn’t take away the pain,” Roni Haran, Danny’s brother, told Ynet.
Kuntar was convicted and sentenced to three life terms in prison, but was freed in exchange for the bodies of Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. He was given a hero’s welcome in Lebanon upon his arrival, and was celebrated by Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah. Shortly after his release, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad honored Kuntar with the Syrian Order of Merit, the country’s highest honor.
Kuntar’s death is the latest recently reported blow to the Iran-Hezbollah axis supporting Assad. It was reported last week that Iran had withdrawn most of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops from Syria after suffering dozens of deaths. And as many as one-third of Hezbollah’s fighting force had been killed or wounded fighting in Syria.
Smadar Haran Kaiser, whose husband and daughter were killed by Kuntar, wrote about the terror attack for The Washington Post in 2003.
It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach not far from our home in Nahariya, a city on the northern coast of Israel, about six miles south of the Lebanese border. Around midnight, we were asleep in our apartment when four terrorists, sent by Abu Abbas from Lebanon, landed in a rubber boat on the beach two blocks away. Gunfire and exploding grenades awakened us as the terrorists burst into our building. They had already killed a police officer. As they charged up to the floor above ours, I opened the door to our apartment. In the moment before the hall light went off, they turned and saw me. As they moved on, our neighbor from the upper floor came running down the stairs. I grabbed her and pushed her inside our apartment and slammed the door.
Outside, we could hear the men storming about. Desperately, we sought to hide. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Then Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door to take refuge in an underground shelter when the terrorists came crashing into our flat. They held Danny and Einat while they searched for me and Yael, knowing there were more people in the apartment. I will never forget the joy and the hatred in their voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. I knew that if Yael cried out, the terrorists would toss a grenade into the crawl space and we would be killed. So I kept my hand over her mouth, hoping she could breathe. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. “This is just like what happened to my mother,” I thought.
As police began to arrive, the terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl’s skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar.
[Photo: Nation News Agency / YouTube ]