Top Hezbollah commander killed in Syria

Initial reports blame Israel for attacks; Investigation by Hezbollah points to Sunni extremists as responsible; Badreddine mastermind behind 2012 suicide bombing which killed 5 Israelis in Bulgaria

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Mustafa Badreddine, a top-ranking Hezbollah commander in Syria, was killed on Thursday in a blast at a Hezbollah position near the Damascus international airport. The blast was a “artillery bombardment” carried out by Sunni extremists.

Initial reports claimed that an “advanced nation” was responsible for the attack, several Arab media stations claiming that Israel was responsible and claiming the explosion was caused by a missile or airstrike.

The report was later refuted following an investigation carried out by Hezbollah.

The terrorist organization released the following statement on Badreddine ‘s death, stating “An investigation has shown that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni extremists] groups in the area.” Hezbollah placed the blame on Israel and the United States, claiming “In all cases, it is a single battle against the American-Zionist project in the region—terrorist Takfiris representing its spearhead—thus practicing its aggression over the Ummah [nation] and its resistance, its Jihadi fighters, holy places and its free, honest peoples.”

Badreddine was responsible for the 2012 bus bombing in Burgas, Bulgaria, targeting an Israeli tour group, mostly youth. Five were killed and several injured in the attack. Badreddine was reportedly leaving a field meeting with Hezbollah commanders when he was killed.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Air Force reportedly carried out airstrikes in Syria targeting a weapons convoy for Hezbollah. According to Israel’s Channel 2 and various Arab news stations, the weapons convoy was thwarted in the Bekaa Valley in the town of Anjar, a Hezbollah stronghold. Syrian opposition reported a “number of strikes against Hezbollah positions close to the Syria-Lebanon border”.