Israel 'not involved' in killing of Hizballah commander

Israel 'not involved' in killing of Hizballah commander
2 min read
13 May, 2016
While Israel has not officially commented on the assassination of Hizballah's top military commander in Syria, Israeli media have had plenty to say on the matter.
Yaakov Amidror [centre] hailed the killing as "good news" for Israel [AFP]
There are no signs that Israel is involed in the assassination of Hizballah's top military commander in Syria, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Initial reports pointed to a possible Israeli operation that killed Hizballah's military commander Mustafa Badreddine on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

However, the Israeli daily has claimed that there were not enough signs to implicate its military.

A former national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed the killing as "good news" for Israel.

"This is good for Israel," Haaretz reported Yaakov Amidror as saying. "We don't know if Israel is responsible for this. Remember that those operating in Syria today have a lot of haters."

"But from Israel's view, the more people with experience, like Badreddine, who disappear from the wanted list, the better," Amidror said.

During an interview with Israel Radio, cabinet minister Zeev Elkin declined to comment on Israel's involvement, the newspaper reported.

Badreddine had led Hizballah's intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime since the start and had been a key player in the group's military wing virtually since its inception.

A portrait of Hizballah’s commander Mustafa Badreddine hangs, as his brother Hassan Badreddine [L] grieves [AFP]

He was one of Israel's most wanted men.

But in a statement annoucing his death, Hizballah not specify which of Badreddine's many enemies it held responsible for the attack.

"According to preliminary reports, a large explosion targeted one of our positions near Damascus international airport killing brother commander Mustafa Badreddine and wounding other people," the group said in a statement.

"We are going to pursue an inquiry to determine the nature and causes of the explosion and ascertain whether it was the result of an air strike, a missile, or artillery fire."

Damascus airport lies to the east of the capital where various rebel groups have a strong presence in the countryside. Pro-government forces have secured the highway to it for the past two years or more.

Badreddine's predecessor, Imad Mughniyeh, his cousin and brother-in-law, was killed in Damascus in 2008 in an attack that drew immediate threats by Hizballah of heavy retaliation against Israel.

But the group have made no such threats after Badreddine's death.

Israel has not commented, as it did not in 2008 too, but Israeli media continue to underline Hizballah's failure to point the finger.

Badreddine's funeral was held in Hizballah's stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut at 5:30 pm [2:30pm GMT].

Agencies contributed to this report.