Supporters, Detractors Clash Online Over Elimination of Top Hezbollah Commander

Mustafa Badreddine

JAFFA, Israel – The elimination announced on Friday of Hezbollah’s chief of operations in Syria brought divisions between supporters and detractors of the Shi’ite organization to the fore.

Mustafa Badreddine, who had allegedly masterminded the killing of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri in 2005, was killed in an explosion at a Hezbollah headquarters near Damascus, Hezbollah announced on Friday.

“Rafik al Haririr’s assassin has been killed in Syria, Hezbollah announces,” Al Arabiya network reported.

Hezbollah confirmed the report, and said it has launched an investigation into the bombing.

The tension between Hezbollah’s supporters and detractors in Lebanon has spilled over into social media, often under the hashtag #assassination_of_terrorist_mustafa_bader_aldin.

One of the most controversial tweets was posted by journalist Maria Maalouf, formerly a fervent Hezbollah supporter and an admirer of its leader Hassan Nasrallah.

“Mustafa Badreddine, I’m sure that even now you’re eating KFC and smoking a waterpipe with homosexuals, as you always do,” she wrote.

She later wrote a post to Nasrallah’s son: “Jawad Nasrallah, I call on you to come out and say the truth. You’ve always opposed the war. I, Maria Maalouf, ask you to say what you think.”

Ali, a Hezbollah supporter, retorted on Twitter: “His shoe is more honorable that your entire dynasty, b*tch.”

Comments on Maalouf’s page were divided between supporters who called her a heroine, and Hezbollah fans who used a spectrum of profanities, ranging from “wh*re” to “Israeli spy.”

Ahmad Zidan, Al Jazeera’s former Afghanistan bureau chief and a vocal supporter of the Syrian opposition, surmised that the opposition, rather than Israel, was behind Badreddine’s assassination.

“I don’t understand why Hariri is being brought up, as if anyone cares about his murderers,” he wrote. “The man destroyed entire countries. He was killed in battle in Syria, that’s all.”

Khaled tweeted: “You dirty scumbag. There are dirtier scumbags than you, and they will soon be killed, Inshallah.”

“Good news to start your day!” Alqahtani tweeted.

“The heroes must have taken him apart, and Hezbollah will probably claim that it was an Israeli job,” Alialali wrote.

Rabiih alluded to a Quranic verse, and wrote: “The murderer will himself be murdered, even if takes a while – Rest assured, Rafik [Al Hariri], your murderer is on his way to hell.”

Hadi, for his part, tweeted: “The man fought against the Israelis for 30 years and has continued to fight against their jihadi agents, the Islamic State and Saudi Arabia.”

Responding to a report that Hezbollah officials welcomed mourners, a Saudi user tweeted: “Inshallah you’ll welcome mourners every day.”