Syria commentator, a supporter of Assad, is assassinated at his home in Lebanon

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BEIRUT -- A prominent Syrian political analyst known for his staunch support of the government of President Bashar Assad was shot and killed early Wednesday at his home south of the Lebanese capital, authorities said.

The commentator, Mohammad Darrar Jammo, 44, fell amid a hail of bullets in what officials suspect was a well-planned political assassination.

The killing appeared to be the latest example of violence from the war raging in neighboring Syria spilling over into Lebanon.

Assailants using automatic weapons shot Mr. Jammo at close range at 2:30 a.m. at his home in the coastal town of Sarafand, 35 miles south of Beirut, according to local media accounts. Lebanon's English-language Daily Star newspaper reported that Mr. Jammo was shot 30 times in his ground-floor sitting room, which was riddled with bullet holes.

Syria's official news service blamed the slaying on "armed terrorists," Damascus' routine description of rebels fighting to overthrow Mr. Assad.

The assailants fled the scene, reports said, and Lebanese authorities were investigating.

In Arab media, Mr. Jammo was a frequent voice defending Mr. Assad, whose government is fighting a more than two-year uprising backed by the United States and allied nations.

The war in Syria has deeply divided Lebanon, which is home to both loyal supporters and fierce critics of the Syrian president. The Lebanese government has taken a neutral stance on the Syrian civil war, but various powerful factions within the country have lent support to the opposing sides on the ground in Syria.

Many Lebanese officials have voiced concern that instability from Syria could threaten Lebanon's fragile, multi-sectarian democracy. Lebanon's own 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

Last week, a car bomb injured more than 50 in a southern Beirut district affiliated with Hezbollah, the Lebanese group that is a close ally of Mr. Assad's government.

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