Senior Hezbollah commander killed in alleged Israeli airstrike in Lebanon

Wissam Al Tawil is the most senior Hezbollah militant to be killed in latest escalation linked to Israel-Hamas conflict


Senior Hezbollah commander Wissam Al Tawil was killed in an airstrike on 8 January 2023.

A senior Hezbollah commander has been killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon on Monday, stoking concerns of a broader regional war as Israel continues to fight Hamas in Gaza.

According to Reuters and Lebanese state media, Wissam Al Tawil, a deputy head of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force, was killed alongside another Hezbollah fighter when their car was struck in the southern village of Khirbet Selm. The airstrike reportedly caused the car to veer off the road and catch fire.

Tawil, the brother-in-law of the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, was reportedly in charge of the Radwan force in the Bint Jbeil district where the strike occurred. He was believed to have been involved in a rocket attack on the Israeli Meron Air Force base over the weekend, damaging radar infrastructure in northern Israel. Hezbollah officials said the group targeted the army base in response to last week’s killing of Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut.

Hezbollah released photographs of Tawil and other leaders of the group to their Telegram channel following news of his death, one of which shows Tawil shaking hands with Nasrallah. Another shows Tawil beside Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, an arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, who was killed in a US airstrike in 2020.

While the IDF has not commented directly on Tawil’s death, it said in a statement on Twitter/X that an Israeli fighter jet had completed an attack on Lebanese territory, hitting a Hezbollah military site, without providing further details.

During a press conference on Monday, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said: “Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into a totally unnecessary war.”

“We are now at a fork in the road,” he said. “Either Hezbollah backs off, hopefully as part of a diplomatic solution, or we will push it away.”

Tawil was the highest-ranking member of Hezbollah to be killed since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7.

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