An assassinated aide to Syria’s president had supplied anti-aircraft missiles to Hezbollah, the Sunday Times reported.
Muhammad Suleiman, a key aide to Bashar Assad who was killed less than two weeks ago, had been supplying Lebanon terrorist group Hezbollah with advanced Syrian SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles, according to the British weekly. The Russian-made mobile missiles, once operational, could threaten the dominance of the Israeli Air Force over Lebanon.
Suleiman, 49, â€œwas killed by a single shot to the head as he sat in the garden of his summer house near the northern port city of Tartus,â€ the Sunday Times reported. According to the report, the fatal shot, which went unheard, appears â€œto have been fired from a speedboat by a sniper, possibly equipped with a silencer.â€
The newspaper suggested that â€œthe expertise required to execute such a long-distance sniper murder had led suspicion to fall upon the Israelis.â€
The London-based Saudi magazine Ashraq al-Awsat described Suleiman as â€œmore important than anyone elseâ€ to Assad. He started working with the Syrian president in 1994, when he was appointed as head of operations, and later he was made responsible for protecting the regime.
The Saudi paper wrote that â€œhe was more senior even than the defense minister. He knew everything.â€
Last week, Hezbollah announced that its next military step would be â€œto stop Israeli fighter planes flying over our land.â€
The Sunday Times added that â€œdespite the risk of jeopardizing peace negotiations between the two countries, the attack appears to have been intended as a warning to the Syrian regime.â€
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.