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Top Syrian general assassinated: reports

Arab media reports that a brigadier general thought to be the Syrian regime's liaison with Hezbollah in Lebanon has been assassinated.

world Updated: Aug 03, 2008 15:31 IST

Arab media reported on Sunday that a brigadier general thought to be the Syrian regime's liaison with Hezbollah in Lebanon has been assassinated.

The reports came almost six months after the killing in a Damascus car bomb of top Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughnieh, which the Shiite militant group blamed on Israel.

The Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat on Sunday quoted "informed sources" in London as saying that a senior Syrian officer had been found dead.

"The circumstances of the incident are not clear," the London-based paper said in its report, which said the sources suggested that the slain officer had been "in charge of sensitive files and closely linked to the Syrian top brass."

Al-Bawaba, an Arab news website, named the officer as Mohammed Sleiman and said he was "Syria's liaison officer with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement."

It said he was killed by a sniper in the northwest Syrian town of Tartus and would be buried in his hometown of Driekesh on Sunday.

The Lebanese anti-Syrian daily al-Mustaqbal quoted a Syrian news site as saying Sleiman was the head of security at the presidential palace in Damascus and President Bashar al-Assad's "right-hand man."

The paper made no mention of Hezbollah in its report.

A Hezbollah official told AFP in Lebanon that he did not know Mohammed Sleiman and had not heard about any killing.

Israel has denied the Hezbollah charge that it was behind the assassination of Mughnieh in the Syrian capital on February 12.