Lebanon security forces have found the body of prominent Hezbollah critic Lokman Slim shot to death after he went missing Thursday night in the country's southern region, which is heavily controlled by the Iran-backed extremist group.
“We found him, he was shot in the head apparently and his rental car was found in Nabatiyeh,” Slim’s friend and American University in Beirut (AUB) Professor Makram Rabah told Al Arabiya English.
The motive behind the assassination was not immediately clear.
His body was transported to a hospital in Sidon where a forensic coroner said Slim was received four bullets to the head and one to his back, according to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA).
Slim, an activist and publisher who ran a research center, was reported missing by his family late Wednesday night into Thursday morning after he visited a friend’s house in a village in Lebanon’s southern region.
“My brother Lokman Slim left Niha al-Janoub six hours ago heading back to Beirut and he has not yet returned. He is not answering his phone. There is no trace of him in hospitals,” his sister Rasha al-Ameer wrote on Twitter at 3:44 a.m. Beirut time.
Rabah confirmed to Al Arabiya English that Slim’s family was able to track his phone to a location where he was last seen in the south, no sign of him or his vehicle were found, however.
“Lokman is an outspoken voice against Hezbollah and he went missing deep in the region and their areas of control and this is the technique they’ve used before,” Rabah said.
My friend and comrade Lokman Slim is missing , he was in the south of Lebanon visiting friends. We hold the parties who control the area and the Lebanese state responsible for his safety and his swift return. #lokman_slim pic.twitter.com/8BqnDuTWcM— makram rabah (@makramrabah) February 4, 2021
Earlier in the day, the AUB professor tweeted saying: “We hold the parties who control the area and the Lebanese state responsible for his safety and his swift return.”
After Slim was found killed, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's son Jawad shared an Arabic tweet that translates to “Loss of some is in reality an unexpected gain and kindness for others” with the hashtag “no sorrow.”
He then deleted the tweet that he said it was personal and was not intended in the way that some understood it as subtweet on the death of the activist.
“The tweet has nothing to do with what is happening. A little awareness,” he said.
2-Jawad Nasrallah deletes tweet that seemed to suggest he was rejoicing over death of Hezbollah critic Lokman Slim, claimed it was about something personal and unrelated to Slim pic.twitter.com/Wp774B5oey— David A. Daoud (@DavidADaoud) February 4, 2021
Lokman Slim and Hezbollah
A journalist, political analyst and activist known as one of the leading Shia voices criticizing Hezbollah, Slim was regularly attacked in media loyal to the terrorist group.
Security sources did not immediately elaborate on the circumstances of his death but Slim’s own sister said before his death was even confirmed that his disappearance was inevitably linked to his opinions.
“He had a political stance, why else would he have been kidnapped,” Rasha al-Ameer told AFP.
Slim was often criticized by Hezbollah supporters for being instrumentalized by the US.
The secular intellectual and pro-democracy activist had also made several documentary films with his wife Monika Borgmann, who had sounded the alarm on social media when her husband went missing.
With AFP & Reuters
Lebanon Hezbollah critic Lokman Slim reported missing after visiting village in south