Time: 3:17 p.m. CEST
The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah confirmed on Friday that commander Mustafa Badreddine died in an attack in Syria, Reuters says. There is conflicting information where the attack exactly occurred. As the Associated Press writes, “Hezbollah said the attack occurred near the Damascus airport,” but gave no details.
As AP explains, the airport is close to the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, where the group has large presence. Further, in the statement announcing Badreddine death, Hezbollah said, “a strong explosion targeted one of our centers near the Damascus International Airport, leading to the martyrdom of brother commander Mustafa Badreddine and wounding several others.”
The statement does not say when the explosion happened, but on Tuesday night the group denied information Israel’s forces targeted a Hezbollah convoy on the Lebanon-Syria border. The group explained several others were wounded in the attack, which nature they investigate if it was the result of an air raid, missile attack or artillery shelling.
The killing of Badreddine, which Hezbollah mourned on Friday, means a big loss for the group, which fighters participate in the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Hezbollah’s deputy leader Sheikh Naim Kassem attended the mourning ceremony in southern Beirut.
Badreddine other name was Zulfiqar and he was Hezbollah’s top military commander. He advised Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the AP says. His name appeared in a trial case for the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, which assassination happen in 2005 when a suicide bombing killed Hariri and 22 others. The trial is ongoing in the Netherlands. He was suspected in the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait, which killed five people. He escaped sentence to death when Iraq’s forces invaded Kuwait.
Most recently, Badreddine name appeared in the lists of the U.S. Treasury Department for sanctions related to his participation in the Syrian war, in 2011 and in 2015. Hezbollah, together with Iran is one of Assad’s supporters.
The AP explains, the Arab League considers Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization” since March. In February, Saudi Arabia stopped $4 billion aid to Lebanese security forces after Foreign Minister of Lebanon Gibran Bassil refused to join Arab and Islamic league resolutions critical of Iran and Hezbollah, the AP writes. In the Yemen’s civil war, Hezbollah aligned itself with the Saudi-opposed Shiite Houthi rebels, the AP tells. Hezbollah started to operate in 1982.
Reuters: Perry, T., & Bassam, L. (2016, May 13). Top Hezbollah commander killed in Syria. In Reuters.com. Retrieved May 13, 2016, from http://reut.rs/1OqFkbn
Associated Press: Mroue, B. (2016, May 13). Top Lebanese Hezbollah military commander killed in Syria. In Bigstory.Ap. Retrieved May 13, 2016, from http://apne.ws/1Wuo4un