Hezbollah “did not tell the truth” about the assassination of its top military commander, Mustafa Badreddine, in Damascus late Thursday and “chose the easy way to avoid rumors,” by claiming that he was killed by “insurgent” shelling, Israeli intelligence sources said.
The sources confirmed in a series of leaks published by the Israeli media on Sunday that the assassination of Badreddine, known as the “ghost,” was carried out through a “smart bomb that is owned by a strong state in the region.”
Military affairs expert Alex Fishman, who is known of having intelligence sources, said Hezbollah decided to lie after consulting with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps.
They agreed to lay the blame on “insurgents” to provide Hezbollah’s men in the battlefield with a logical answer.
Fishman said Hezbollah usually holds Israel directly responsible for such attacks. But this time, the party avoided doing so because it currently does not have the interest or the power to create a confrontation on Israel’s northern border.
Badreddine was killed in a professional way and it’s not true that he died accidentally by opposition shelling in Syria as claimed by Hezbollah in the investigation it launched after his murder, Asharq al-Awsat reported.
Informed sources in Beirut said that Badreddine was in a secret facility managed by Hezbollah near Damascus Airport when the explosion took place in a room he was present in.
Only Badreddine was killed and there were no other casualties, they said.
This facility belongs to the “army of the shadows” run by Hezbollah and Syria. It’s the agency that works on building strength and smuggling arms from Iran to Lebanon.
The “army of the shadows” has been for years monitored by a reputable spying agency.
Fishman said the killing is a strike at the heart of the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah alliance.
On Saturday, Hezbollah-affiliated al-Akhbar newspaper published a report saying that Badreddine was killed in a surface-to-surface missile. But only armies have such capabilities.
That’s why the Hezbollah leadership rushed to issue a statement to clarify that al-Akhbar means a shelling carried out by “insurgents.”
There is also another possibility: Hezbollah officials are settling scores. For a long time there had been personal disputes between Badreddine and some figures in Hezbollah’s leadership, which created tension for the Iranians.
Badreddine could have been eliminated by some of his associates because Hezbollah’s latest failures did not improve his popularity.
Fishman said that when Badreddine was killed “nobody else was hurt. The conclusion: somebody followed him and knew exactly when he would arrive and when he would be in the room.”
Hezbollah did not have the audacity to accuse any country of carrying out the murder because it is “unable to open a new front against its foes.”