Hezbollah Claims Aussie Killed by Israeli Airstrike as Jihadi Martyr

An Australian citizen killed in Lebanon, Ibrahim Bazzi, was a simple construction worker, friends and family say, yet the terrorist group is claiming him as one of its own, providing a funeral with full military honors.

AP/Mohammed Zaatari
Mourners carry what are said to be the coffins of a Hezbollah fighter and two civilians who were killed by an Israeli airstrike, at Bint Jbeil, South Lebanon, December 27, 2023. AP/Mohammed Zaatari

An Australian citizen killed earlier this week by an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon was a simple construction worker — so claim Ibrahim Bazzi’s friends and family at Sydney — yet the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon is claiming Bazzi as one of its own, providing a funeral with full military honors to Ibrahim, his wife Sharouk Hammoud, and his brother Ali Bazzi.

“The Islamic Resistance celebrates the martyrdom of Mujahid (holy warrior) Ali Ahmed Bazzi Qasim from the town of Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon,” Hezbollah declared in an official statement. The Bazzi brothers and Sharouk Hammoud were buried in caskets draped with Hezbollah flags.

Situated only three miles from the frontier with Israel, Bint Jbeil is a Hezbollah frontline stronghold. The town was, during the second Lebanon war in 2006, the site of bitter fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah.

Since October 7, Hezbollah has been conducting rocket and anti-tank missile attacks against Israel in solidarity with Hamas. For its part, the IDF has responded with surgical air and artillery strikes against Hezbollah military targets. At this point, neither side seems to desire escalation of the fighting into full-scale war.

Yet, the moral dilemma faced by Israel in Lebanon is identical to that in Gaza. Like Hamas, Hezbollah deliberately places its weapons storage sites and rocket launchers in civilian buildings and neighborhoods.

If those weapons are effective in killing Israeli civilians, Hezbollah/Hamas counts it as a military win. If the ensuing Israeli counterstrike destroys the weapon while inflicting collateral casualties on nearby Lebanese civilians, Hezbollah/Hamas counts it as a public relations win. For Israel, this scenario is lose-lose.

This is the same challenge faced by the American military in its fight against ISIS in 2016. How can the armies of Western democracies conduct effective warfighting in compliance with international law against a terrorist enemy that spurns that very legal framework? In the words of Hamlet, “There’s the rub.”

Assertions of Mister Bazzi’s innocence by his family in Australia are at odds with claims of his membership by Hezbollah, the same terrorist organization that killed 241 servicemen in the bombing in 1983 of an American Marine barracks in Beirut.

The New York Sun

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