Mustafa Badreddine
Mustafa Badreddine Reuters

When top Hezbollah terrorist Mustafa Badreddine was killed in an explosion in Damascus on May 10, Hezbollah initially blamed Israel, then pointed the finger at Sunni militias. However, Iran now believes that the US was behind the assassination, according to The Daily Beast.

The US had more of a motive than anyone else to exact revenge against Badreddine, according to the report. In 1983, the 22-year old terrorist helped plan the suicide bombing of the US Marines barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. He devised a means for increasing the force of the bomb by adding compressed gas, thus rendering an explosion that caused the building to collapse inward, killing 241 men.

He was captured in Kuwait later that year and imprisoned, but escaped prison in 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. For the next years, said the Beast, “he was practically a ghost, using aliases and multiple cell phones to avoid detection.”

In 2005, Badreddine orchestrated the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the ex-prime minister of Lebanon and one of the country’s best known politicians and business leaders.

Body blow

In 2008, Hezbollah’s military leader, Imad Mughniyeh – Badreddine’s cousin, who was also married to his sister – was assassinated, apparently by Israel. Badreddine took over the top post from him.

“In January 2015, Israel thought they’d found their man, traveling in a convoy in Syria,” said the report. “An Israeli helicopter reportedly fired two missiles at the vehicles, but Badreddine wasn’t there. Mughniyah’s son, however, was among the dead.”

Badreddine met his demise six weeks ago, when a huge explosion in a building near the Damascus Airport killed him, in what was described as “a body blow to Hezbollah.” Soon afterward, said the report, senior government officials Tehran were pointing the finger at Washington. The US had the motive and the opportunity, considering that it is conducting daily airstrikes in Syria. 

An angry Khameini

Iranian leaders have concluded that Badreddine was taken out in a precision US airstrike, an Iranian official told The Beast. “Radar that Iran had installed in Lebanon and Syria picked up signals showing a missile that was fired by either a US drone or a manned aircraft, said the Iranian official.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was so angry that he reportedly ordered Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, to begin retaliatory strikes at US-backed rebels in Syria. Hezbollah said in an official statement that an “artillery bombardment” caused the explosion.

The Beast cites an Israeli official as saying that even if Israel did kill Badreddine, “The last thing that Hezbollah’s leaders want now is another fight with Israel,” since “their forces are too stretched” in Syria at the moment.

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