BEIRUT: The hit squad entered and exited the parking lot where Hassan Lakkis was gunned down on the night of Dec. 3, 2013 by jumping over the wall that served as a buffer between his apartment complex and the Camille Chamoun Highway, Israel Defense magazine has revealed in a report.
The lengthy report, by Israeli intelligence analyst Ronen Solomon, said that the actual assassination was carried out by two gunmen, armed with silencer-equipped 9mm pistols.
The report backed this assertion by citing physical evidence from the scene – notably muddy footprints left by the assassins who had crossed a nearby orchard that night.
It said that after the hit squad exited the parking lot, they escaped via a waiting getaway vehicle under the cover of darkness. The report also claimed that Lakkis was not only a senior commander in Hezbollah, he was also a life-long personal friend of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.
The report goes into blow-by-blow detail of the events alleged to take place that night.
It said two of the occupants dismounted and slipped stealthily into the thick vegetation of the orchard. The route they will follow would lead them, within minutes, to the concrete wall, which they would climb and then jump directly into the roofed area where the residents' reserved parking spaces were located. There, they would find their target – Hassan Hawlo Lakkis – head of Hezbollah’s weapon systems and technological infrastructure development organ.
The report also stated that at least two organizations investigated Lakkis’ assassination: the internal security department of the Lebanese Army and the internal security unit of Hezbollah, headed by Wafiq Safa.
It said Hezbollah and Iran were convinced that Israeli intelligence had masterminded the killing and that the actual execution had been carried out by a third party, a state entity such as Saudi Arabia or a local anti-Hezbollah organization.
The main question being asked, according to the report, was why the Israelis had decided to assassinate Lakkis using point-blank range gunfire rather than, as attributed to them in previous cases, by attaching an explosive device to his car, employing a sniper or using a lethal injection that would simulate death of natural causes?
The report also gave background on Lakkis’ life, saying that him and Nasrallah “had started out together as youngsters in Baalbek, east Lebanon, where they attended religion classes delivered by Sayyed Abbas al-Musawi, who was eventually appointed Hezbollah chief until his assassination by Israeli forces in 1992.”
It added that in 1983, Iran established – for the first time in Lebanon – a military command near Shaath in the Bekaa Valley, headed by officers of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. One of those officers was Hossein Dehghan who now serves as Iran's Defense Minister. Dehghan was assigned to assume responsibility on behalf of the Revolutionary Guards for the Lebanon sector following the Israeli invasion of 1982. He was also involved in the training of the first nucleus of Lebanese Islamic resistance leaders, including the young Hassan Lakkis, who was later sent to attend the school for command and staff officers at the Imam Hossein University (military academy) of the Revolutionary Guards.
Nasrallah was appointed Hezbollah secretary-general in Feb. 1992 after Musawi was killed in an Israeli air raid on his motorcade.
As of that year, Lakkis' activity has been on record, the report said, adding that Lakkis enrolled as a student at the Engineering Faculty of the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, in addition to handling the procurement and weapon system development activities of Hezbollah. As later established, this activity would eventually be conducted by a worldwide network of Hezbollah cells.
The report also stated that Lakkis would travel to Tehran occasionally for work visits, and that his acquaintances had said that he attended his first work meeting with Iran's supreme spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei, along with Nasrallah and Imad Mughniyah, who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.