Samir Kuntar during his 2008 release
Samir Kuntar during his 2008 releaseReuters

Samir Kuntar, the notorious Hezbollah child-murderer released from Israeli prison in 2008, is alive and kicking it seems, despite earlier reports he was killed in a missile strike in Syria.

In July it was widely reported that Kuntar was the target of an Israeli missile strike on a vehicle carrying pro-regime fighters in the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights.

Five fighters were killed in that strike, and sources including the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed Kuntar and another Hezbollah fighter were among the dead.

Kuntar and his Hezbollah comrade were believed to be in southern Syria, accompanied by fighters from the pro-Assad National Defense Forces (NDF) militia, in an attempt to recruit members of the Druze community to the NDF's ranks.

Kuntar is himself a Druze.

But in an interview aired September 9 on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV and translated by MEMRI, a healthy-looking Kuntar can be seen railing against the US for designating him as a terrorist.

Branding the move an act of "aggression" on America's part, he suggested it was part of an Israeli conspiracy.

"Normally, the U.S. administration makes such decisions in reference to people who harmed U.S. interests, citizens, or institutions," he told his interviewer. "In this case, however, the decision refers to people whose entire activity is against the Zionist enemy, and who have conducted no activity directly against the U.S. administration. Therefore, this decision is clearly Israeli-made.

"I consider this to constitute a clear aggression by the U.S. administration against citizens who decided to fight occupation and oppression, in order to lift this great burden from their people, whether in Palestine or here in Lebanon."

Hezbollah is a proscribed terrorist group in the US, and contrary to Kuntar's claims the Iranian-backed Islamist group has indeed committed attacks against US citizens. It's most notorious attacks against Americans include the 1983 bombings of the US embassy, which killed 63 people, and the bombing of the US Marine Army barracks in Beirut in which 241 were killed.

Lebanese-born Kuntar is notorious in Israel for his role in the massacre of an Israeli family in 1978.

He and three other terrorists from the now-defunct Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) infiltrated into Israel by boat and attempted to kidnap the Haran family from their home in Nahariya. The wife managed to hide in a crawlspace with her two-year-old daughter, but her husband and four-year-old daughter were kidnapped.

Kuntar and his associates took their hostages to the nearby beach, where Israeli soldiers and police officers encountered them. According to the official account, Kuntar shot the father in the back, then beat the daughter to death.

Back at the house, the wife accidentally smothered the younger daughter to death while trying to prevent her from crying out and giving away their hiding spot.

At the time of the attack, current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in charge of the PLF.

Kuntar served 29 years in prison before being released in exchange for the bodies of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev in 2008, returning to a hero's welcome and honorary Hezbollah membership.