(JNS.org) Top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine was killed in what was described by the terror group as a “major explosion” at Damascus International Airport on Friday.
Badreddine, 55, was the commander of Hezbollah’s contingent that had been fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government against opposition forces and Sunni terror groups such as Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
In the announcement on his death, Hezbollah said, “He said months ago that he would not return from Syria except as a martyr or carrying the flag of victory. He is the great jihadi leader Mustafa Badreddine, and he has returned today a martyr.”
The Beirut-based Al Mayadeen satellite TV network, which is sympathetic to Hezbollah, initially reported that Badreddine was killed in an Israeli airstrike. But the network later removed that report from its website.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif extended his country’s condolences to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
“Badreddine was all passion and devotion in defending the ideals of Islam and the resistant Lebanese people in their fighting against terrorism,” Zarif said, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.
Badreddine has been linked to nearly every high-profile Hezbollah terror attack over the last 30 years, including many against Israel and the 2012 attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. He was behind the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait, where he was imprisoned until 1990, and is also believed to have masterminded the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.