ISRAEL? Who killed the powerful Hezbollah higher up this past week, and why NOW?
Hezbollah blames rebel artillery, but is that just an excuse to avoid escalation with Israel?
We reported on Friday that top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine was killed in an explosion in Syria, but that the circumstances were unclear, Another top Hezbollah commander killed – but who dunnit?.
Badreddine was considered a master bomb maker, credited with developing that combination of explosives and gas that took down the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut and numerous American and other diplomatic facilities. Badreddine of late was commander of Hezbollah forces propping up the Assad regime, and was hated not only by Israeli but also by many Arab states. So he had plenty of enemies, and plenty of people who wanted him dead.
But he also lived in the shadows, with few photos of him prior to his death (Hezbollah has released more photos after his death) and a life lived under assumed names.
While pro-Hezbollah Lebanese media immediately blamed Israel. That made perfect sense in light of Israel’s presumed assassinations of numerous Hezbollah leaders, including Imad Mughniyeh (mastermind of almost all attacks on Israel and the U.S.), his son Imad Mughniyeh(who was killed along with several high level operatives and an Iranian general),Hassan Laqqis(key Hezbollah link to Iranian weapons procurement) and Samir Kuntar (who killed an Israeli girl by smashing her head against the rocks on a beach).
Blaming Israel for Badreddine’s death would require Hezbollah to retaliate in some deadly way in order to save face. But that would risk sparking a wider conflict with Israel at a time that neither Hezbollah nor its Iranian sponsor can afford such a conflict while bogged down in Syria.
A funny thing then happened. Pro-Hezbollah media started deleting the accusations against Israel. Hezbollah then released a statement today improbably blaming a rebel artillery attack for Badreddine’s death.
Hezbollah said on Saturday its top military commander, whose death it announced on Friday, was killed in Syria by Sunni Islamist artillery fire and not by an Israeli air strike as one member of the Lebanese Shi’ite movement had said.
“Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri (hardline Sunni) groups in the area,” Hezbollah said in a statement….
But a war monitoring group cast
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