TEL AVIV – Israel is bracing for a possible Hezbollah response following the announcement on Friday that one of its top commanders, arch terrorist Mustafa Badreddine, was eliminated in an explosion.
Without citing any actual evidence, Nawar al-Saheli, a Hezbollah member of Lebanon’s parliament, claimed on Friday that Israel was behind the attack and threatened retaliation.
“This is an open war and we should not preempt the investigation but certainly Israel is behind this,” Badreddine commented to the Hezbollah-controlled al-Manar TV station. “The resistance will carry out its duties at the appropriate time.”
Asked by Breitbart Jerusalem for comment on the incident, the Israel Defense Forces declined to make a statement, including about any additional measures being taken to heighten security along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and Syria.
As his terrorist history (see below) demonstrates, Badreddine made many enemies over the years and it is not confirmed that Israel had any involvement in his death. Still, Israel understands that Hezbollah clearly fingers the Jewish state and that some kind of response at some point is expected, perhaps in the form of a Hezbollah terrorist attack overseas or an escalation along Israel’s northern border.
Hezbollah is bogged down fighting the insurgency targeting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and likely does not want to risk opening a second front with the Jewish state and so the Shiite group may be more reluctant to attempt anything major on Israel’s northern border beyond perhaps a few rocket or mortar strikes.
Reuters reported on the elimination of Badreddine:
The killing of Badreddine, a brother-in-law of late Hezbollah military commander Imad Moughniyah, is the latest big loss sustained by Hezbollah and Iran in Syria despite Russian military intervention in support of Assad and his allies.
At least four prominent figures in Hezbollah have been killed since January 2015. A number of high-ranking Iranian officers have also been killed, either fighting Syrian insurgents or in Israeli attacks.
Hezbollah said Badreddine had been killed in a big explosion targeting one of its bases near Damascus airport, and an investigation was underway into whether it was caused by an air strike, a missile attack or artillery bombardment. It did not say when he was killed.
Yaakov Amidror, a former national security adviser to Netanyahu, praised Badreddine’s elimination but did not say that Israel was involved.
“We don’t know if Israel is responsible for this,” Amidror said in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio. “Remember that those operating in Syria today have a lot of haters without Israel.”
“But from Israel’s view, the more people with experience, like Badreddine, who disappear from the wanted list, the better,” he said.
In an email update, Omri Cohen of the Israel Project provided this helpful guide to Badreddine’s terrorist activities:
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. 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.
1990s – He helped establish and then he coordinated Hezbollah Unit 1800, which facilitated terror attacks against Israel from the West Bank and Gaza.
2000s – He helped establish and the he coordinated Hezbollah Unit 3800, which launched attacks in Iraq against American, British, and Sunni forces. In 2005 he masterminded Hariri’s assassination in Lebanon, which killed Hariri and 21 others.
2010s – He’s been coordinating all Hezbollah activities in Syria.
In 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department designated Badreddine a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” accusing him of “providing support to Hizballah’s terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world.” Treasury labeled him “Hizballah’s top militant commander.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.