BEIRUT — Top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine has been killed in an attack in Syria, the Lebanese group says, the biggest blow to the Iranian-backed organisation since its military chief was killed in 2008.
Badreddine, 55, was one of the highest-ranking officials in the group and assessed by the US government to be responsible for Hezbollah’s military operations in Syria, where it is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah said Badreddine had been killed in a big explosion targeting one of its bases near Damascus airport and an investigation was underway into whether it was caused by an air strike, a missile attack or artillery bombardment.
The Lebanese TV station al-Mayadeen earlier reported he had been killed in an Israeli attack.
There was no immediate response from Israel which has struck Hezbollah targets inside Syria several times during the country’s five-year conflict.
“We decline to comment,” an Israeli military spokeswoman said.
A US Department of the Treasury statement detailing sanctions against Badreddine last year said he was assessed to be responsible for the group’s military operations in Syria since 2011 and he had accompanied Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during strategic coordination meetings with Mr Assad in Damascus.
Badreddine, a brother-in-law of the late Hezbollah military commander, Imad Moughniyah, was indicted by the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 killing of statesman Rafik al-Hariri.
He was sentenced to death in Kuwait for his role in bomb attacks there in 1983.
He escaped from prison in Kuwait after Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, invaded the country in 1990.
For years, Badreddine masterminded military operations against Israel from Lebanon and overseas and managed to escape capture by Arab and Western governments by operating clandestinely.
Call to revoke Citizenship Bill-2075
BHARATPUR- Stakeholders have called upon the government to revoke the Citizenship Bill-2075 arguing that it is against the national interest. At an interaction programme organized in Chitwan on Thursday, they said that the bill brought to amend the Citizenship Act, 2063 should be postponed cautioning that it could be counterproductive.
On the occasion, Coordinator of National Awakening Council Sadhya Bahadur Bhandari said that the proposed bill serves the anti-national interests. He instead asked the government to constitute a high-powered citizenships probe commission.
“This bill is too loose than that of 2063. It should be immediately postponed and a new high-powered commission should be formed to probe the issues on citizenship,” Bhandari added.
Likewise, Chairman of Nepal Bar Association Chitwan district chapter Kamalraj Pathak, foreign affairs expert Hiranyalal Shrestha, border experts Hemanta Sedhain and Buddhi Narayan Shrestha and other speakers also shared their opinions to revoke the proposed citizenship bill and also suggested that the government should regulate the Nepal-India open border.Follow @gorkhapost