Ex-Hezbollah chief mourns death of bin Laden
BEIRUT - A former Hezbollah leader on Tuesday mourned the death of Osama bin Laden, whom he hailed as having "fought to defend Islam and its people."
Sheikh Sobhi al-Tufayli, the Iranian-backed militant group's first secretary general, lamented the death of a "great man, courageous, sincere in his faith, loyal to his convictions" in a statement eulogizing bin Laden.
But Tufayli, a Shiite Muslim who split with Hezbollah in 1992 in protest against the party's decision to participate in parliamentary elections, also noted his disagreement with the radical Sunni Al-Qaeda leader.
"Some situations had a negative impact on the unity of Muslims and inadvertently served Western interests of conquering our countries."
In 1998, the Lebanese government issued a warrant for Tufayli's arrest on charges of "attacking national security" after he called for civil disobedience against the state.
He is believed to still be living in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, a lawless region in the country's east.
Hezbollah has not officially commented on the death of bin Laden, killed in a US raid on a mansion in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, a two-hour drive from the capital Islamabad.