BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hezbollah commander killed in Iraq

Mourners carry the coffin of Ibrahim al-Haj, a Hezbollah commander who died during a mission in Iraq, during his funeral in Mashghara village in the Bekaa Valley July 30, 2014. REUTERS/Shawky Haj

BEIRUT: A Hezbollah commander has died during a mission in Iraq, sources familiar with the incident said Wednesday, indicating the Lebanese group that is already fighting in Syria's civil war may be involved in a second conflict in the region.

Hezbollah has not previously announced any role in the conflict in Iraq, which escalated last month when radical Sunni militants seized large areas of territory from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Four sources in Lebanon named the Hezbollah commander as Ibrahim al-Haj, a technical specialist involved in training. They said he was "martyred" in a battle near Mosul, a city in northern Iraq seized from government control last month by an Al-Qaeda offshoot known as the Islamic State.

His funeral was held Wednesday in the village of Qilya in the Bekaa Valley. A Hezbollah official contacted by Reuters declined to comment.

Hezbollah's deployment in Syria has helped President Bashar Assad's government firm up its grip on power by re-establishing control over a strategic corridor of territory stretching north from Damascus. The group says it is fighting in Syria against the threat posed by radical Sunni militants.

 

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