Mustafa Badr al-Din
Mustafa Badr al-DinReuters

Arab media reported overnight Thursday that Mustafa Badr al-Din, Hezbollah's military commander, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah facility near the Damascus airport.

The IDF has not responded to the reports, but Hezbollah confirmed al-Din’s death early Friday morning.

Badr al-Din is considered the successor of senior Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in 2008, also allegedly by Israel.

He was identified by the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon as the key suspect in the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, for which Hezbollah was officially accused. Badr al-Din is a cousin and brother in law of Mughniyeh.

If the reports are true, the assassination comes after the elimination of senior Hezbollah terrorist Samir Kuntar last December in Syria.

Kuntar murdered two members of the Haran family and a policeman in the northern Israeli city of Nahariya in 1979, crushing the four-year-old's head with the butt of his rifle after murdering her father in front of her. Her two-year-old sister died when the mother, hiding in a crawl space, accidentally smothered her while trying to prevent her cries from being heard.

He was released in 2008 as part of a prisoner swap with Hezbollah.