It is reported that Hezbollah has appointed a new military chief, following the death of its most senior military official in Syria last week.
The London-based publication Asharq Al-Awsat has claimed that the son of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in Syria in 2008, will succeed Mustafa Badraddine as Hezbollah’s new military chief. Little is known about Mustafa Mughniyeh, who is also the son of Badraddine’s sister. He has never appeared in the media, presumably as he has been groomed for a senior position in Hezbollah. His father’s assassination was said by many to have been carried out by Israel. Meanwhile, Mustafa Mughniyeh’s brother, Jihad, was also killed last year, attributed by many foreign media outlets to the Israeli Air Force, in the Quneitra region of southern Syria. Saudi reports say that Mustafa took over Hezbollah’s operations on the Golan Heights following his brother’s death. However, unlike Jihad Mughniyeh, who was often pictured close to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Mustafa has never appeared in public.
His apparent elevation to overseeing the terror group’s military operations, comes after Mustafa Badraddine’s death last week in an explosion near Damascus. Hezbollah has blamed Sunni-terror groups for his death. Hezbollah said that Badraddine “took part in most of the operations of the Islamic resistance since 1982”. Indeed, he is thought to have constructed the bomb which killed 241 Americans at a US Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983. He was also tried in absentia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, for the assassination of former-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Meanwhile, a French report estimates that Hezbollah has suffered serious quantitative losses in Syria, alongside the high-profile deaths of the likes of Badraddine and Jihad Mughniyeh. It says that one quarter of the six thousand Hezbollah fighters who have fought alongside the Assad regime since 2012 have been killed.