Samir Kuntar (Arabic: سمير القنطار, also transcribed Sameer, Kantar, Quntar, Qantar) (born July 20, 1962 in Abey, Lebanon) is a Lebanese Druze former member of the Palestine Liberation Front. On April 22, 1979, at the age of 16, he participated in the attempted kidnapping of an Israeli family in Nahariya that resulted in the deaths of four Israelis and two of his fellow kidnappers. Kuntar was convicted in an Israeli court for murder of an Israeli policeman, Eliyahu Shahar, 31 year-old Danny Haran, and Haran's 4-year-old daughter, Einat Haran, whom he killed with blunt force against a rock. He was also convicted of indirectly causing the death of two-year-old Yael Haran by suffocation, as her mother, Smadar, tried to quiet her crying while hiding from Kuntar. In 1980 Kuntar was sentenced to four life sentences.
Immediately after his arrest, Kuntar admitted to the killings, but at his sentence and thereafter he denied killing the father and daughter, saying that they had been killed by security forces in the ensuing gun battle. He did admit to taking them hostage and killing Eliyahu Shahar, however. An eyewitness testified to having seen Kuntar shoot Danny Haram, and forensic evidence presented at his trial showed that Einat's brain tissue was found on his rifle. He spent nearly three decades in prison before being released on July 16, 2008 as part of an Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap.
In Israel, Kuntar is considered the perpetrator of one of the most brutal terrorist attacks in the country's history, while in Lebanon, where Israel's version of the events is disputed by many and it is denied that he killed the father and his daughter, he is widely regarded as a "national hero." Newsweek states that the details of Kuntar's attack are "so sickening they give pause even to some of Israel's enemies." The Jerusalem Post states that "exactly how popular Kuntar is in Lebanon is up for some debate."