Gunmen in Lebanon killed a senior commander of the Iranian-backed Shia militant group Hizballah on Wednesday.
Hizballah announced the death of Hassan al-Laqis, who the group described as a founding member, the Associated Press reports. In a statement it said al-Laqis was killed as he returned home from work around midnight in southern Beirut. Citing a Lebanese security official and an unnamed official close to Hizballah, the AP reports that al-Laqis was shot at close range by assailants, taking five bullets to the head and neck, and later died from his injuries after being rushed to a hospital.
Al-Laqis’ death comes in the wake of increasing violence in Hizballah’s heartland of southern Beirut, which has been affected by spillover sectarian violence from the civil war in neighboring Syria, where the group is fighting to bolster President Bashar Assad’s government.