A former Israeli army officer confirmed Tel Aviv’s responsibility for the assassination of “dean of liberated detainees from Israeli prisons” Samir Kuntar in Jaramana, near Damascus, in late 2015.
Kuntar, who spent nearly 30 years in Israeli prisons and was involved in fighting with the Syrian regime forces and Lebanese Hezbollah party in the ongoing war in Syria, was killed in an air strike targeting him.
The Israeli official said the operation was carried out by two planes that bombed a building with four long-range missiles after receiving information from “one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition factions.”
Israeli political and military officials at the time welcomed his assassination, but Tel Aviv did not claim responsibility for the operation.
“Samir Kuntar, the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israeli jails, was killed in a terrorist rocket attack targeting a building in the southern parts of Jaramana, Damascus countryside,” the Sana news agency reported at the time.
Before his assassination, six members of Hezbollah and an Iranian military official were killed in an Israeli raid on Quneitra, southern Syria in early 2015. Among those killed was Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the group's late military leader Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.
Syrian opposition officials at the time said that the victims of the raid were members of Kuntar’s unit.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had previously said that Kuntar was the target of various failed Israeli assassination attempts in Syria.
The details of his assassination had remained a mystery until they were revealed by former Israeli army officer, Lt. Marco Morno, on Thursday.
He explained that one of the opposition leaders in Syria had relayed to Israeli military intelligence the information that contributed to Kuntar’s liquidation.
Israel’s Mfzak Life website reported on Friday that Israel did not acknowledge this operation at the time despite reports that confirmed its involvement.
The website said the information disclosed by Morno was allowed to be published under military censorship.
It said Morno was a former officer in Unit 504 and was responsible for communicating with Syrian opposition factions.
Kuntar was the longest-serving Lebanese prisoner held in Israel. He was released on July 16, 2008 as part of a prisoner swap between Hezbollah and Israel.