2016 killing of Iran-backed Hizbullah commander was ‘inside job,’ Israel says

by WorldTribune Staff, March 22, 2017

The death of Hizbullah’s military commander in Syria was an “inside job,” an assassination carried out by the Iran-backed group itself, the chief of Israel’s armed forces said.

Hizbullah had claimed that Mustafa Badreddine was killed in May 2016 in an artillery attack by anti-Assad rebels near Damascus, but a war monitoring group said there had been no shelling in that area at the time.

Mustafa Badreddine

“According to (media) reports, he was killed by his superiors, which points to the extent of the cruelty, complexity and tension between Hizbullah and its patron Iran,” Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said on March 21.

“These reports corresponded with the information we have and with our assessment,” Eisenkot said in a speech in central Israel.

Al Arabiya news channel reported earlier this month that Iran, which like Hizbullah has forces in Syria supporting Bashar Assad’s regime, was unhappy with the 55-year-old Badreddine and wanted him removed from the battlefield.

A senior Israeli security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last week that Badreddine and Iran were at odds over “how to wage the Syrian campaign” and a meeting was arranged near an airport where a Hizbullah security official shot him dead.

Badreddine was one of five Hizbullah members indicted by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 killing of statesman Rafik Al Hariri, one of Lebanon’s most prominent Sunni Muslim figures. Hizbullah denied any involvement and said the charges were politically motivated.

Badreddine had also masterminded military operations against Israel from Lebanon and overseas and managed to escape capture by Arab and Western governments for years.