DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A Shiite cleric who as Iran’s ambassador to Syria helped found the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and lost his right hand to a book bombing reportedly carried out by Israel has died. He was 74. Iranian state media say Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour died in a northern Tehran hospital after contracting the coronavirus. He was a close ally of Iran’s late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In the 1970s, he formed alliances with Muslim militant groups across the Mideast. After the Islamic Revolution, he helped found the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Iran. A U.S. judge directly blamed him for suicide bombings targeting U.S. personnel in Lebanon.
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