Israel kills notorious terrorist Samir Kuntar in air strike

Kuntar, who committed one of the most gruesome terrorist attacks in Israeli history in 1979 and freed in 2008 as part of a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, was killed with other terror leaders in a Damascus suburb, reportedly in an IAF strike.

By Atara Beck, World Israel News

IAF fighter

An IAF fighter on a mission. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Notorious terrorist Samir Kuntar was killed in an Israeli Air Force (IAF) air strike in a suburb of Damascus in Syria on Saturday, Arab source reported.

The Hezbollah affiliated Al-Manar TV reported that Kuntar was in a building that was struck by four long-range missiles, causing complete destruction of the building and partial damage to the surrounding buildings.

“At 10:15 p.m. on Saturday December 19, Zionist warplanes struck a residential building in Jaramana city in Damascus countryside,” Hezbollah’s Media Relations said in the statement.

“The Dean of liberated detainees from Israeli prisons, brother Mujahid Samir Kuntar, was martyred along with several Syrian citizens in the strike,” the statement added.

Kuntar’s brother Bassam confirmed the death on Twitter. “With pride we announce the martyred death of the commander and jihad fighter Samir Kuntar. We are proud to join the ranks of the shahid families after 30 years of waiting among the ranks of the prisoners’ families.”

According to reports in the Arab media, eight other terrorists were killed in the attack, including Farhan Shaalan, another senior terrorist who planned terror attacks against Israel in the Golan Heights.

Al-Manar‘s correspondent in Damascus reported that the rebels fighting the Syrian government have been operating in the area and claimed that the Israeli strike was coordinated with them.

The Israeli military did not comment on the reports, as has been its policy in the past when such reports of Israeli strikes in Syria have surfaced.

Decades of Activity Against the Jewish State

Kuntar carried out one of the most gruesome terrorist attacks in Israeli history. In 1979, he infiltrated northern Israel by boat with three other members of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). The group killed a police officer in Nahariya before breaking into the home of the Haran family and taking hostage 31-year-old Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter Einat. According to the official account, Kuntar shot the father in the back, then beat the daughter to death while retreating to the beach.

Haran’s wife, who quickly hid, accidentally smothered her younger daughter to death while trying to prevent her from crying out and giving away their hiding spot.

In 1985, members of the PLF hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship demanding the release of 50 Palestinian prisoners, including Kuntar. The terrorists killed a disabled Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, before throwing his body and his wheelchair overboard. Israel did not release Kuntar.

Israel freed him in 2008 after 29 years in prison and sent him to Lebanon as part of a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. Israel traded Kuntar, four Hezbollah terrorists and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinians in return for the bodies of IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Kuntar was greeted in Lebanon as a hero by the top members of government and awarded the Syrian Order of Merit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He returned to terror activities against Israel and was reportedly involved in recruiting members of the Druze community to carry out attacks against Israel.

Roni Haran, Danny’s brother, told Israel’s Ynet news he “waited for this moment for seven years, since Kuntar was released from prison.”

“Samir Kuntar never regretted his actions, and there is a small consolation in this [his assassination], although it doesn’t take away the pain,” Haran said.

“I hope that this gets the message across that whoever murders Jews in Israel and in the world will end up like Samir Kuntar and the Munich murderers [of Israeli athletes],” he added. “As it stands, in the Middle East, this seems like the only language they understand.”