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THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
06:10 AM Beirut time
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Missing Hezbollah fighter killed in Syria buried in Lebanon
Agence France Presse
A portrait of Hussein Salah Habib, a Lebanese Hezbollah commander missing for months in Syria, is displayed during his funeral on January 1, 2014 in Baalbek, in an eastern area of Lebanon that is a bastion of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. AFP PHOTO STR
A portrait of Hussein Salah Habib, a Lebanese Hezbollah commander missing for months in Syria, is displayed during his funeral on January 1, 2014 in Baalbek, in an eastern area of Lebanon that is a bastion of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah. AFP PHOTO STR
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BAALBEK, Lebanon: A Hezbollah commander, who had been missing for months in Syria, was buried in Lebanon on Wednesday after his body was repatriated following his torture and killing by rebels, relatives told AFP.

Hussein Salah Habib, 30, was captured by opposition fighters during the fight for Qusair, a strategic town near the Lebanese border that fell to the regime on June 5.

He was buried in Baalbek, in the Bekaa valley, a region of eastern Lebanon that is a bastion of Hezbollah.

The Lebanese group is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has sent fighters to support his troops against the rebels.

Armed Hezbollah members and fighters who participated in the battle for Qusair were among those at Habib's funeral, an AFP correspondent reported.

His body had been missing for months since the battle in Qusair, and was recovered nearly a week ago in the area of Tallet Mando, near the town.

"He was repatriated and DNA tests proved that it was indeed Hussein," a relative said.

"We were told that his body was buried under a mound of sand. He had been stabbed in several parts of his body and his face was disfigured," he added.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 262 Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011.

The group first publicly confirmed its intervention in the conflict in April.

It has been controversial in Lebanon, where many Sunnis back the Sunni-dominated uprising, some of them also travelling across the border to fight the regime.

Iran-backed Hezbollah's involvement has brought it under attack in Lebanon, where its south Beirut stronghold has been hit by bombs and rockets.

In November, a twin suicide bombing struck the Iranian embassy in south Beirut, killing 25 people.

 
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