BEIRUT

Middle East

Hezbollah buries fighter killed in 'Syria border area'

Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Hussein Abdel Ghani al-Nimr during his funeral procession in Ansar, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012. (The Daily Star/Nidal Solh)

BAALBEK, Lebanon: More than 2,000 Hezbollah supporters gathered in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon on Monday to bury one of their fighters who a security source said was killed in the border area with Syria.

Hussein Abdel Ghani al-Nimr, 35, "died while he was performing his jihadist duty," said a Hezbollah spokesman from the eastern city of Baalbek.

A security source told AFP that the member of the Damascus-backed Shiite militant group was "killed in the Lebanon-Syria border region and his body was taken back on Sunday."

The funeral comes less than a week after a senior Hezbollah commander, who Syrian rebels said was killed in Syria, was buried in the Bekaa.

An AFP correspondent said throngs of Hezbollah members marched in procession from a Baalbek area mosque to a cemetery alongside Nimr's fellow fighters who carried the body.

"He was a good man and a good fighter, and he died as a martyr serving his country and fellow Muslims," Hezbollah cleric Sheikh Mohammed Yazbeck, who heads the party's religious council, told the crowd.

Hezbollah has announced several similar burials in past months, without elaborating on the circumstances of its members' deaths.

Lebanon's opposition March 14 movement and Syrian rebels have repeatedly accused Hezbollah of aiding the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad militarily.

Activists in the Syrian province of Homs told AFP on Monday that Hezbollah fighters have been taking part alongside government troops in fighting against rebels in the besieged town of Qusayr near the border with Lebanon.

Beirut is politically divided over the Syrian revolt. Hezbollah, which is allied to Iran, backs Assad's regime while the pro-Western March 14 movement supports the revolt.

 

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