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Mustafa Badreddine, the highest ranking Hezbollah member indicted indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri “has been stripped of his position in Hezbollah and is probably outside Lebanon, ” Al-Liwaa newspaper reported Friday.

Badreddine who is the brother in-law of assassinated Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyah, is the prime suspect in the assassination of Hariri . Badreddine replaced Mugniyah as Hezbollah’s chief operations officer after he was killed in a mysterious explosion in Syria on Feb. 12, 2008. The 50-year old is a member of the Hezbollah Shura Council.

Al-Liwaa added that security forces have “redoubled their efforts” to find Badreddine and fellow indicted suspect Salim Ayyash, another senior Hezbollah member

Four members of Hezbollah have been indicted by the tribunal. However, the Shiite group strongly denied the charges and refuses to cooperate with the court.

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