Mustafa Badreddine

Mustafa Badreddine was a U.S.-designated senior military commander for Hezbollah.“Treasury Designates Hizballah Leadership,” U.S. Department of the treasury, September 13, 2012, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1709.aspx. He reportedly controlled Hezbollah’s external operations, including launching attacks on Israel from the West Bank and Gaza and attacking Sunni forces in Iraq. According to Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman, Baddredine was the target of a January 2015 Israeli airstrike on Hezbollah members in Syria in which an Iranian general and six Hezbollah members were killed.Ronen Bergman, “The Hezbollah Connection,” New York Times, February 10, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/the-hezbollah-connection.html?_r=0. On May 13, 2016, Hezbollah’s al-Manar website announced Badreddine’s death in an explosion near the Damascus airport. Lebanese MP and Hezbollah member Nawar al-Saheli blamed the attack on Israel, stating, “This is an open war and we should not preempt the investigation but certainly Israel is behind this.”Tom Perry and Laila Bassam, “Top Hezbollah commander killed in Syria,” Reuters, May 13, 2016, http://in.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-hezbollah-idINKCN0Y405A. A later statement by Hezbollah attributed Badreddine’s death to “artillery bombardment” by Sunni jihadists.Richard Spencer, “Hizbollah blames jihadists, not Israel, for killing of military chief Mustafa Badreddine,” Telegraph (London), May 14, 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/14/hizbollah-blames-jihadists-not-israel-for-killing-of-military-ch/.

In September 2012, the U.S. Treasury designated Badreddine as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 for providing support to Hezbollah’s terror activities in the Middle East and internationally.Tom Perry and Laila Bassam, “Top Hezbollah commander killed in Syria,” Reuters, May 13, 2016, http://in.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-hezbollah-idINKCN0Y405A. In July 2015, the Treasury designated Badreddine pursuant to Executive Order 13582, freezing Badreddine’s U.S. assets and prohibiting U.S. persons from “engaging in transactions [with Badreddine].” According to the Treasury, Badreddine had organized Hezbollah’s military operations in Syria since 2011.“Treasury Designates Hizballah Leadership,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, September 13, 2012, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/tg1709.aspx.

Badreddine was wanted by the U.N. and Lebanese authorities for his reported role in the February 14, 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.Special Tribunal for Lebanon, “Hussein Hassan Oneissi,” April 25, 2012, http://www.stl-tsl.org/en/the-cases/stl-11-01/accused/618-hussein-hassan-oneissi. The bomb attack on Hariri’s motorcade claimed the lives of an additional 21 and injured more than 220.Owen Bowcott, “Trial of Lebanese broadcaster charged with contempt of court opens in Hague,” Guardian, April 16, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/13/hezbollah-suspect-at-large-journalists-in-dock-at-hague-un-tribunal. Badreddine was being tried in absentia at the U.N.’s special tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague alongside fellow Hezbollah agents Salim Ayyah, Hussein Onesisi, and Assad Sabra. Lebanese authorities had reportedly been unable to locate Badreddine since 2009.Owen Bowcott, “Trial of Lebanese broadcaster charged with contempt of court opens in Hague,” Guardian, April 16, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/13/hezbollah-suspect-at-large-journalists-in-dock-at-hague-un-tribunal.

 
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