LONDON: Al-Arabiya News Channel was subjected to an online campaign by Hezbollah supporters and critics that questioned how the channel was able to report on the assassination of prominent and vocal Hezbollah critic Luqman Slim on Thursday.
Many of the Hezbollah loyalists claimed that Slim's assassination was part of a “theatrics.”
The online attacks sought to undermine the public narrative against the terrorist group and draw accusations away from the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy.
— ا لـ ـعـ ـر بـ ـيـ ـة (@AlArabiya) February 4, 2021
“The most dangerous thing is how some tweeters, bloggers knew about Luqman Slim’s death before even finding him. How did Al-Arabiya tweet about it and then some Lebanese channels? How did some people on Twitter know who committed the crime? The one who killed Luqman Slim knows how to move and when he moves,” journalist Hosein Mortada, known for his pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iran writings, tweeted.
والشيء الاخطر ، كيف عرف بعض المغردين مقتل #لقمان_سليم قبل العقور عليه ، كيف غردت قناة العربية بذلك وبعدها بعض القنوات اللبناني ، ثم كيف عرف بعض المغردين من نفذ الجريمة
من قتل #لقمان_سليم هو من يعرف كيف تحرك ومتى تحرك
— حسين مرتضى (@HoseinMortada) February 4, 2021
“We are from Al-Zahrane residents but we did not hear about what happened, not even the Lebanese media until Al-Arabiya published it. Can you tell us how you learnt about these details that quickly,” one tweeter asked.
— mohamad da (@7bbKaher) February 4, 2021
“We heard at Ziad Rahbane’s theatre play once where it says ‘in the media they need to put news before it even happens.’ This is what happened today at Al-Arabia in the event of Luqman Slim’s death who was found in a remote area in the south. They described the areas that are under Hizib’s control. They could know the news before it even occurs,” another wrote.
كنا نسمع مسرحية #زياد_الرحباني بمقطع بقول "لازم بالأخبار يحطوا الخبر قبل ما يصير" اليوم #العربية طبقتها خبرتنا بمقتل #لقمان_سليم بمنطقة نائية بالجنوب بحسب ما وصفوا انها تابعة لنفوذ الحزب، بس هني قدروا يعرفوا الخبر قبل ما يصير حتى!
— Jihad M Jaber (@JihadMJaber3) February 4, 2021
Anticipating his own killing last year, Slim announced that he received accusations and threats at his house. Slim said Hassan Nasrallah, Nabih Berri, and the Lebanese Army had full responsibility for his safety.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Slim’s body was found in his car in one of the orchards of the Al-Adousiya area in Lebanon with four shots to the head and one in the back.
His killing is the culmination of a series of threats Slim has received for many years — which intensified in recent months — for his strong anti-Hezbollah stance.
He was accused by Hezbollah and its members of being an “Israeli agent” or “a Shiite of the American Embassy.”