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      Lebanon: Pro-Hezbollah Commander Assassinated

      Masked gunman shoot dead Hassan al-Mouri, along with two other men amid rising sectarian tensions.
      By Ari Soffer
      First Publish: 8/22/2013, 1:01 PM

      Sunni Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon
      Sunni Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon
      Reuters

      A leading supporter of the Hezbollah terrorist group was assassinated in Tripoli on Thursday.

      Al-Mouri was gunned down by "masked men on motorbikes," along with a security official and a bystander, according to a security source quoted by the Lebanese Naharnet website.

      The 40 year-old leader of a pro-Hezbollah Sunni militia was standing at the entrance to his home along with the two other men when the gunmen drove up and shot them.

      Hassan al-Mouri was a controversial figure. Unlike most Sunnis in Tripoli, the al-Mouri family support the Iranian-backed Shia organization and its Syrian and Iranian patrons, as opposed to the Sunni rebels in Syria.

      He had previously been the target of a failed assassination attempt in a city which is split between the largely Alawite supporters of the Syrian regime of Bashar el-Assad, and their Sunni neighbors, who support the rebels.

      His death will contribute to the increasing political and sectarian divisions within Lebanon, as the civil war in neighboring Syria continues to spill over.

      Hezbollah fighters have been streaming across the border to back the Assad regime, whilst Sunni fighters have joining the ranks of the rebels.

      But some of the fighting has spilled over into Lebanon itself, most recently in a series of attacks targeting Hezbollah strongholds, including a car bomb attack earlier this month which killed 20 people.

      That attack was claimed by a previously-unknown Sunni Islamist group, who threatened more attacks in revenge for Hezbollah participation in the killing of Sunnis in Syria.

      Hassan al-Mouri was a controversial figure. Unlike most Sunnis in Tripoli, the al-Mouri family support the Iranian-backed Shia organization and its Syrian and Iranian patrons, as opposed to the Sunni rebels in Syria.