Wissam al-Tawil, a seasoned Hezbollah commander, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in southern Lebanon, marking a significant incident in the ongoing tensions in the region.
Al-Tawil, aged 48, was a part of Hezbollah’s elite Radwan Force, which is deployed along the Israel-Lebanon border.
Veteran Hezbollah commander killed in Israeli airstrike near border
He lost his life when an airstrike targeted his SUV in Khirbet Silem, a location approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the border.
Al-Tawil’s involvement with Hezbollah dates back to 1989, making him a veteran group member.
He held a high-ranking position within the organization, the highest since the recent flare-up of hostilities following the Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel by Hamas, an ally of Hezbollah.
Al-Tawil: Central figure in Israel-Hamas conflict and Syrian civil war
During the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, al-Tawil led several special operations against Israeli positions along the border, as stated in a Hezbollah announcement.
A Hezbollah official, speaking anonymously in accordance with regulations, revealed al-Tawil’s role in igniting the 2006 war with Israel.
He was also involved in the Syrian civil war, coordinating efforts between Hezbollah and the Syrian army in combat against the Islamic State group.
Al-Tawil’s role in past conflicts and his personal losses
On July 12, 2006, al-Tawil was part of a special Hezbollah unit that crossed into Israel, capturing two Israeli soldiers and killing others, an act that triggered a month-long conflict, resulting in substantial casualties on both sides.
His involvement in the war in Syria, alongside Syrian government forces, began in 2013, where he served as an aide to Hezbollah’s chief commander in Syria, Mustafa Badreddine, who was killed in 2016.
Al-Tawil, who lost his two brothers in fights with Hezbollah, was involved in numerous assaults against Israeli forces during Israel’s 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, which ended in 2000.
In 1999, during one such attack, he sustained a severe neck injury.
Al-Tawil’s connections and Hezbollah’s statement
Throughout his tenure with Hezbollah, al-Tawil was closely associated with significant figures within the organization, including Imad Mughniyeh, the group’s military chief from its inception until he died in 2008.
He also had connections with Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad in 2020.
The death of Wissam al-Tawil in the airstrike has been a significant development, given his long-standing and influential role in Hezbollah.
Al-Tawil’s death heightens tensions in Hezbollah-Israel conflict
His involvement in various conflicts and his close ties with key figures in the organization underscore the impact of his loss on Hezbollah.
This event further intensifies the already strained relations and ongoing conflict in the region, particularly between Israel and Hezbollah.