BEIRUT: Lebanese delegations visited the Iranian embassy in Lebanon Thursday to offer condolences over the recent death of an Iranian official who was killed en route from the Syrian capital to Beirut.
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the Iranian embassy in Lebanon said engineer Hussam Khoshnevis, the head of the Iranian Committee for Reconstruction in Lebanon, was killed at the hands of “armed terrorist groups” while making his way from Damascus to Beirut.
Among visitors to the embassy were Hezbollah MP Walid Sukkarieh, Amal MP Qassem Hashem, Hezbollah official Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek, former security chief Jamil Sayyed, a group of Druze sheikhs as well as delegations of Palestinian and military officials and religious figures.
Deputy President of the Higher Shiite Council Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan issued a statement denouncing the “terrorist act” that targeted Khoshnevis.
Qabalan lamented the death of the official, hailing his contribution to Lebanon’s rehabilitation.
“Khoshnevis was a loyal man who worked on healing the wounds of the Lebanese and reconstructing what the Zionist terror machine destroyed,” said the sheikh.
For his part, Iranian ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi said that Khoshnevis’ death proves that Israel is trying to intimidate all those who support the resistance in Lebanon.
“Engineer Hussam Khoshnevis was assassinated because he played a major role in Lebanon’s reconstruction following the Israeli aggression against the country in July 2006,” said Roknabadi.
“However, this will never stop us from keeping up our support to the resistance,” he added.
The Gathering of Muslim Scholars of Jabal Amel, in a statement, slammed the killing of Khoshnevis, which it described as part of an Israeli-American plot.
“The gathering denounces this deadly assassination on Syrian soil that reflects the obvious grand Zio-American plots that Syria faces through severing all the help to the sons, people, resistance that render Syria strong,” the scholars said in a statement.
“The gathering ... mourns brother Hussam Khoshnevis, who was martyred in Syria at the hands of the criminal groups running amok,” the scholars said.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said a man it identified as Hassan Shateri was killed Tuesday while we was en route from Damascus to Beirut at the “hands of Zionist regime mercenaries and backers."
Ramezan Sherif, the Guards’ spokesman, also said Shateri was the head of the Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon, reported Agence France Presse.
AFP reported that the Iranian official’s funeral was held in Tehran Thursday morning, and was attended by Revolutionary Guards chief Ali Jaafari, head of the foreign operations Quds Force unit Qassem Soleimani and Ali Saidi, representative of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
According to the Iranian embassy statement, Roknabadi is receiving condolences Thursday and Friday. – With AFP