The assassination of Lebanese historian, publisher, and activist Lokman Slim in south Lebanon brought back to light the assassination of Iraqi historian and activist Hisham al-Hashemi who was assassinated in similar circumstances seven months ago in Baghdad.
Al-Hashemi and Slim were both assassinated in their cars with bullets in the head and the chest.
After the assassination of al-Hashemi, Slim commented, saying, “They [the assassins] are known from their cowardness.”
It was later revealed by Iraqi activist Ghaith al-Tamimi that al-Hashemi had shown him screenshots saying he received death threats from the Iran-backed Kata'ib Hezbollah. Al-Hashemi reportedly received a repeated threat from a Kata'ib Hezbollah member called Abu Ali al-Askari, who promised him that he would kill him in his house.
Slim had received threats last year from pro-Hezbollah supporters who attacked his house in Beirut's southern suburbs, where they posted papers on the fence saying, “glory to the silencer.” After the incident, Slim issued a statement accusing what he called “the bats of darkness” of attacking his home. He held Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and his ally Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri responsible for what happened and “what might happen” to him.
The two researchers were subject to constant campaigned attacks from pro-Iranian media in Iraq and Lebanon, labeling them traitors.
Al-Hashemi took a stance strongly supportive of the popular uprising that began in Iraq at the beginning of October 2019, to demand a comprehensive reform of the Iraqi political system and denounce the previous government's loyalty to the Iranian camp.
Similarly, Slim supported the uprising that started in the same month in Lebanon, demanding political and economic reform while also blaming Hezbollah and the Iranian influence on Lebanon over the nation's deteriorating situation.