Lebanon News

Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya official assassinated in Shebaa

Mourners carry the coffin of Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya official Mohammad Jirar during his funeral in Shebaa, June 10, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

SIDON/BEIRUT: An official from Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya was shot and killed by a sniper in southern Lebanon Sunday night in what initial investigations have revealed may have been an assassination plot, security sources told The Daily Star. Mohammad Jirar, who headed the group’s public relations department in the Marjayoun-Hasbaya district and also a medical center in Shebaa, was lured from his home in the town after receiving a phone call around 11 p.m. from someone claiming to want to donate to the medical center, the sources said.

The caller then asked to meet Jirar by the center, located adjacent to his house.

Security footage seen by The Daily Star shows Jirar waiting outside the center, before being shot by a sniper offscreen and falling to the ground. Security forces and the Lebanese Army arrived at the scene quickly and launched an investigation into the incident.

Jirar, a prominent activist in Shebaa, was outspoken in his opposition to the return of refugees to Syria before a political solution is reached.

Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya, the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced Jirar’s death in a statement, commemorating his work for the people of Marjayoun-Hasbaya, including thousands of Syrian refugees.

The Future Movement’s office in Hasbaya and Arqoub and the Hamas Movement both condemned the attack in separate statements.

Over 1,000 people attended Jirar’s funeral Monday, carrying banners and crying, “We will take revenge on the murders,” and, “We will not forget you.”

One sign read, “We will cut off the hand of treachery, even if it takes time.”

“We will not be intimidated, neither will we be silenced,” Al-Jamaa al-Islamiyya Secretary-General Azzam al-Ayoubi said during the funeral, calling on the Lebanese state to conduct a speedy investigation to find the killer.

“We will follow up on what was done to Jirar.” - Writing by Sahar Houri and Jacob Boswall

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 11, 2019, on page 2.

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