On the second floor of an innocuous-looking little shop in Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah commander holds court amid stored juice boxes and sacks of rice.

Cellphones are forbidden here and bags are searched before entering. His soldiers loiter watchfully outside.

The commander is tall, well-built, with eyes as hard and gray as granite. He sips from a small porcelain cup of thick, black coffee.

He doesn’t want to be quoted by name; these days, being a Hezbollah commander is a dangerous occupation. His boss was assassinated just last week.

“It is difficult to lose someone so devoted to the cause,” the commander says. “Haj Murtada should have a statue made of gold. He’s been in hiding for our mission since the 1980s. His family and friends would see him in secret; his life was a secret. Is this not a great sacrifice?”

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Image courtesy of Reuters

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