When, on May 13, 2016, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of the Lebanese political and paramilitary party Hezbollah, was seen mourning the death of his senior militia commander Mustafa Badreddine, the Lebanese media reported on the story according to what they learned from Hezbollah about the circumstances of his demise. A few days later, questions about Hezbollah’s version of events arose.
Hezbollah joined the fight in Syria in 2013, and Badreddine was chosen to lead the factions there, along with Iran’s Qassem Soleimani, who led Quds Force. However, Badreddine discovered that Soleimani was favoring the lives of the Revolutionary Guards over those of Hezbollah. Soleimani put pressure on Nasrallah to remove Badreddine from the battlefield.
Badreddine was reported to have arrived at the international airport on May 14, 2016, accompanied by three people. It was there that Badreddine was killed.
Initially, Israel was blamed for the fatal attack, as reported by Al-Mayadeen. That article was later removed. Later reports said that the cause of Badreddine’s death was assumed to be a vacuum bomb, as a fighter group was 12 km away from the Damascus airport, placing it well within artillery range. However, no gun powder residue found at the scene. Additionally, images obtained by Al Arabiya of the site on May 14, reveal that aerial views of the site where Mustafa Badreddine was killed, show the site unscathed.
Recounting the events of the night, an airport employee said that as the operation was taking place, all employees were barred from entering the workplace. “As I was approaching to go to work, I saw a lot of people crowding near the airport. At approximately 10 PM that night we suddenly heard a loud bang and what sounded like fire from three rifles,” he said, adding, “We tried approaching the scene to see what was going on but we were stopped by Hezbollah fighters telling us we weren’t allowed to enter. They did not even allow Syrian senior army officer or the Syrian police from entering the airport.”
Shiite cleric Abbas Hoteit declared to the south Lebanon website Janoubia that, “Badreddine was killed by two treacherous bullets”.
Eyewitness accounts place four people at the security building near the Damascus airport that night — one of them being Badreddine himself. A number of people reported on Twitter that they saw Soleimani leaving the site minutes before the operation, and he is believed to be the second person. The third person was Badreddine’s bodyguard, who could not save his commander’s life. Also according to eyewitnesses, the fourth person was identified as Ibrahim Hussein Jezzini, the person who Badreddine reportedly trusted the most.
According to an article in Al Arabiya, it was Jezzini, the Hezbollah man, who waited for the right moment to eliminate his friend zul faqar, Mostafa Baddredine. Al Arabiya says, “No bomb or shell killed Badreddine, but instead, a conspiracy plotted by his one-time friends Hassan Nasrallah and Qasem Suleimani.”
“And there goes the story of an erratic murderer’s death who was killed at the hands of a friend,” continues Al Arabiya, and further, “Baddreddine fell on the altar of Suleimani’s ambitions and Nasrallah’s reputation, raising the question of whether it was an individual incident, or the beginning of dire divisions and a period of darkness within the ranks of the Hezoballah Shiite sect in Lebanon.”