Beirut barracks bomb preparer, Hariri assassination mastermind killed near Damascus
This is from the BBC.
An initial report by Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV said that Badreddine, 55, died in an Israeli air strike. But a later statement by Hezbollah on al-Manar's website did not mention Israel.
Israeli media reported that the government refused to comment on whether it was involved in Badreddine's death.
Israel has been accused by Hezbollah of killing a number of its fighters in Syria since the conflict began.
The group was established in the wake of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in the early 1980s, and has called for the "obliteration" of Israel.
A number of Twitter accounts supporting Syrian rebel groups and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front say Badreddine was killed in a battle in Khan Touman, southern Aleppo, rather than in Damascus.
Khan Touman was captured by a coalition of groups including al-Nusra Front last week and has been subject to heavy shelling in recent days.
No official sources have commented on the reports.
Born in 1961, Badreddine is believed to have been a senior figure in Hezbollah's military wing. He was a cousin and brother-in-law of Imad Mughniyeh, who was the military wing's chief until his assassination by car bomb in Damascus in 2008.
According to one report, a Hezbollah member interrogated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), described Badreddine as "more dangerous" than Mughniyeh, who was "his teacher in terrorism".
They are alleged to have worked together on the October 1983 bombing of the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut that killed 241 personnel.
Badreddine is reported to have sat on Hezbollah's Shura Council and served as an adviser to the group's overall leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Badreddine was tried in absentia by the ongoing Special Tribunal for Lebanon, in The Hague, over the killing of Mr Hariri.
He was indicted on four charges and was said by the tribunal to be "the overall controller of the operation" to kill Mr Hariri.
Any of the armed groups seeking to overthrow Mr Assad might have sought to kill the man co-ordinating Hezbollah military activities. However, suspicion is likely to fall on Israel, which fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006.
Israel has been accused of killing several of the group's leaders over the years, although it has never officially confirmed its involvement.
Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus in 2008 that US intelligence officials said last year was a joint operation by the CIA and Israel's Mossad spy agency.
In January 2015, a suspected Israeli air strike in the Syrian Golan Heights killed six Hezbollah fighters, including Mughniyeh's son Jihad, and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general.
And in December, Hezbollah said one of its senior figures, Samir Qantar, was killed when missiles fired by Israeli jets struck a block of flats in Damascus.
Israel has also reportedly conducted air strikes aimed at preventing advanced weapons shipments from Iran from reaching Hezbollah via Syria.The 'no comment' is Israel's standard operating policy, but if Israel is involved in this, you can bet the Obama administration will make sure everyone knows about it.
The Israel Project's Omri Ceren provides more background by email.
Organizationally Badreddine was "dual hatted," per Matt Levitt, a Washington Institute director and the scholar who literally wrote the book on Badreddine [c]. He was both the head of Hezbollah's external global terror operations and the head of all Hezbollah activities in Syria [d].
Badreddine killed so many different people in so many different places that it's not actually clear if the Israelis were the ones who got him [e]. Under interrogation by Canadian security officials, a Hezbollah member once reportedly described Badreddine as "more dangerous" than his predecessor and cousin Imad Mughniyah [f]. He was unpopular even inside Hezbollah: Levitt tweeted he was "rash, hot tempered, impetuous, even unstable," and "was very close [to] Nasrallah, but widely disliked within Hezbollah," and was "a philandering playboy, not particularly religious" [g][h][i].
A couple of timelines: 1st, Badreddine's terror activities going back decades, 2nd, how the U.S. Treasury designated him as a terrorist starting in 2012, though last month
Badreddine terror activities timeline
1980s - In October 1983 he prepared the bombs for the Beirut barracks bombings, which killed 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen. The targets were separate American and French buildings [j]. In December 1983 he was part of the Iran-backed cell that launched seven attacks in one day in Kuwait, killing 6 and wounding almost 90. The targets were the American embassy, a residential building for American company Raytheon, the French embassy, the Kuwaiti airport, the Kuwait National Petroleum Company oil rig, and a Kuwaiti power station [k].
1990s - He helped establish and then he coordinated Hezbollah Unit 1800, which facilitated terror attacks against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza [l].
2000s - He helped establish and the he coordinated Hezbollah Unit 3800, which launched attacks in Iraq against American, British, and Sunni forces [m]. In 2005 he masterminded Hariri's assassination in Lebanon, which killed Hariri and 21 others.
Badreddine's assassination could lead to war between Israel and Hezbullah.2010s - He's been coordinating all Hezbollah activities in Syria.U.S. sanctions and designations timeline
2012 - Treasury designated Badreddine pursuant to E.O. 13224, labeling him a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" [n]. The Treasury notice cited him for "providing support to Hizballah’s terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world," assessed that he was currently "Hizballah's top militant commander," and noted that "the prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon charged Mustafa Badr Al-Din with the attack... that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 21 others."
2015 - Treasury piled on more sanctions, this time pursuant to E.O. 13582 [o]. The Treasury note assessed he was "responsible for Hizballah's military operations in Syria since 2011," having sat with Nasrallah during meetings in Damascus throughout 2011 before expanding his role.
April 2016 - Treasury tagged him again, this time under the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, making him subject to secondary sanctions [p].