A man reads the Koran in front of a picture depicting top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine.
(photo credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS)
Hezbollah has appointed Mustafa Mughniyeh military commander following the death of his uncle, Mustafa Badreddine, last weekend in a shelling at Damascus Airport, the London based Asharq al-Awsat reported Tuesday morning.
Mustafa Mughniyeh is the son of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s military commander who was assassinated in Syria in 2008 in an operation attributed by foreign media to the Mossad.
The report, based on Lebanese sources, says the 34-yearold Mughniyeh was named to succeed his uncle when Badreddine was serving jail time in Kuwait for involvement in bomb attacks.
Mughniyeh has long remained under-the-radar and has steered clear of media attention. His photos are nearly impossible to come across.
Some believe his identity remained concealed in order to secure his cover in covert Hezbollah operations overseas.
According to the report, Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani traveled to Beirut following Badreddine’s death to oversee the promotion of Mughniyeh.
Mustafa Mughniyeh’s brother, Jihad, was assassinated in the Syrian Golan in January 2015 in an operation Hezbollah accused Israel of carrying out.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah asked Western journalists not to report that Israel was behind the assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, Hezbollah’s military chief, a prominent French journalist has alleged.
Georges Malbrunot, the Middle East reporter for Le Figaro, wrote on Twitter Saturday: “Hezbollah asked the journalists who asked for its reaction to Baddredine’s liquidation to avoid saying that Israel is involved in the attack.”
“On Friday, I spoke with a diplomat in the Levant who told me the anti-Assad Syrian armed groups do not have the ability to produce such a sophisticated operation even if Israel could resort to use the services of one of these groups,” the French reporter added.
According to Malbrunot, the foreign diplomat told him that “It could be little doubt that the assassination of Badreddine is the continuation of the Israeli liquidations of Hezbollah’s senior leaders.”
A statement released by Hezbollah Friday emphasized Badreddine was assassinated Thursday night near Damascus Airport by an artillery shell fired by a Syrian rebel group.
Although Hezbollah did not accuse Israel of his assassination, during the burial ceremony of Baddreddine on Friday, senior leaders in the organization voiced anti-Israel statements, naming the Syrian rebel groups as the “spearhead of the American-Zionist project in the Middle East.”
The Iranian news agency Fars reported Monday that Gen.
Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, payed a condolence visit to Baddredinne’s family in Beirut Sunday.