Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hezbollah’s senior-most military commander in the Syrian conflict, was killed Friday in an explosion near Damascus, the Lebanese Shia militia group said in a statement on the TV station it operates.
Here’s the Hezbollah statement:
Preliminary investigation indicates that a huge blast targeted one of our centers near Damascus international airport, leading to the martyrdom of brother Mustafa Badreddine (Sayyed Zulfiqar) and the injury of others.
The investigation will find out the nature of the blast as well as its reasons, and whether it was a result of an airstrike or rocket attack, something which will be announced soon.
Fighters from Hezbollah, the Shia group from Lebanon, are among those backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the five-year-long civil war in his country. The U.S. and Israel regard the group as a terrorist organization. Badreddine was charged with the killing in 2005 of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.
Initial news reports said Israel was behind his death, but those reports were later pulled back, and Israeli media are reporting there are no signs of their country’s involvement in Badreddine’s death.