JERUSALEM – Samir Kuntar, perpetrator of one of the most brutal terror attacks in Israeli history, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria, the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group said Sunday.
Kuntar was reportedly the target of a guided missile strike on a residential building in the Damascus district of Jaramana, according to Syria’s SANA state-run news agency.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV said two Israeli warplanes were behind the attack, and it aired footage of a building that appears to be completely destroyed.
Israel typically does not comment on airstrikes inside Syria. In keeping with that policy, the strike was not mentioned by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Sunday’s security cabinet meeting.
National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz said that while he usually doesn’t comment on “such rumors or reports,” he recognized that Kuntar was “known to be a very brutal terrorist” and a “despicable person.”
“He killed a civilian family, including a baby, many years ago and he’s still involved in terrorism,” Steinitz said, referring to Kuntar’s infamous 1979 attack that killed four Israelis. “So if something happened to him, I think that no civilized person can be sorry.”
Steinitz jested, “It is possible that the Finnish intelligence service acted here, I have no idea, I know only what I see in the media.”
According to security sources here, Kuntar was an active Hezbollah member who was involved in recruiting militants to carry out attacks against Israel’s northern border.
On Sunday, three rockets were fired into the Western Galilee in northern Israel. The attack was most likely Hezbollah’s retaliation for the elimination of Kuntar. The Hezbollah-related Al-Mayadeen television network reported the rockets were launched from inside Lebanon.
The Israel Defense Forces responded to the rocket attacks with targeted artillery fire. “The IDF holds the Lebanese Army responsible for attacks emanating from its territory,” an IDF Spokesperson told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Attack details “so sickening they give pause even to some of Israel’s enemies”
The reviled Kuntar was arrested by Israel in 1979 and sentenced to three life terms for leading a gruesome attack in the northern town of Nahariya in which four Israelis were killed. The attack is considered one of the most brutal in the Jewish state’s history.
Kuntar led a group of four Palestine Liberation Front terrorists who entered Israel by boat from Lebanon on April 22, 1979. They first killed a policeman, Eliyahu Shahar, who apparently discovered the breach. They divided into two groups. One group, led by Kuntar, broke into the home of the Haran family just before police reinforcements arrived.
Kuntar ran to a nearby beach, taking 31-year-old Danny Haran as a hostage as well as his four-year-old daughter, Einat. Danny’s wife, Smadar, hid with her two-year-old daughter, Yael, in a crawlspace above the bedroom. Smadar accidentally suffocated Yael to death while trying to quiet her daughter’s screams.
Newsweek called the attack “so sickening they give pause even to some of Israel’s enemies.”
On the beach, Kuntar shot Danny in front of his daughter and then drowned him in the sea to make sure he was dead. Kuntar then smashed Einat’s skull with a rock, killing her on the spot.
Kuntar was imprisoned until 2008, when he was released in a controversial swap for two bodies of Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
‘Historic justice’ was served
Speaking to Army Radio on Sunday, Smadar Haran hailed the alleged Israeli airstrike as “historic justice.”
“They called me at 4 a.m, I woke up and thought about the years that passed, how historic justice had been made,” she said.
Danny Haran’s brother, Roni, told Ynetnews that 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 [his assassination], although it doesn’t take away the pain,” he 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],” stated Haran. “As it stands, in the Middle East, this seems like the only language they understand.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.