Top Hezbollah commander and suspect in Hariri murder, Mustafa Badreddine killed in Syria
May 13, 2016
Mustafa Amine Badreddine , Hezbollah’s top commander in Syria was killed in an Israeli military operation in Syria , according to Arab media reports.
Mustafa Amine Badreddine was reportedly killed near the Damascus airport in an Israeli Air Force strike. Badreddine is said to be the highest ranking official in the Shi’ite paramilitary group behind the organization’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
In 2012, The US Treasury Department placed Badreddine, also known as Mustafa Badr Al Din, Mustafa Youssef Badreddine, Sami Issa and Elias Fouad Saab, on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, STL accused Badreddine of committing numerous war crimes, alleging in a 2011 report that he, along with a small contingent of collaborators, was behind the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
In 1984, the Kuwaiti government sentenced him to death after implicating him in a number of deadly bombings, which targeted the American and French embassies and the airport, according to Internet publication The Daily Beast.
He later escaped execution after Saddam Hussain invaded Kuwait in 1990, releasing scores of inmates from numerous prisons, fleeing to Beirut shortly after.
For years, Badreddine, 55 remained elusive, avoiding capture by Arab governments or international bodies by taking refuge deep inside Syria and Iran.“There are few official records in Lebanon relating to Mustafa Badreddine […] He has never been issued a passport. He has never been issued a driver’s license. He is not the registered owner of any property in Lebanon,” a prosecutor STL wrote in a 2011 indictment.
“The authorities have no records of him entering or leaving Lebanon. No records are held by the Ministry of Finance which would reflect that he pays any taxes. There are no bank accounts in any of the banks or any of the financial institutions in the country in his name.”
“Badreddine passes as an unrecognizable and virtually untraceable ghost throughout Lebanon, leaving no footprint,” he added.
Badreddine replaced his brother -in-law Imad Mughniyeh ( brother of Mughniyeh’s wife) as the top Hezbollah commander and top military advisor of Nasrallah . Mughniyeh was also reportedly killed in Damascus by Israel.
Hezbollah announces his death
Hezbollah announced on Friday morning the killing of Badreddine in an Israeli air raid on the Lebanese-Syrian border this week.
The party said in the statement announcing his death that the Badreddine “participated in most of the party’s operations since 1982. The statement said he was killed on Tuesday night, as quoted by “Reuters”.
Badreddine was born in 1961 in Ghobeiri, a southern Beirut suburb that is populated mostly by newly arrived Shiites from the rural south . When the civil war broke out, exactly one week after Badreddine’s 14th birthday, Ghobeiri and its environs formed a stronghold of the Palestinian and allied Muslim militias, encompassing the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps that would later witness an infamous massacre at the hands of their Christian foes. With his cousin Mughniyeh he joined and was trained by the Palestinian Fatah faction, adding to what a PLO veteran described as “a kind of roving Shiite fight club” embedded within the otherwise Sunni force. By the time of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Badreddine and his cousin had defected to the Iranian backed Hezbollah