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Top Hezbollah Military Commander Killed in Syria

BEIRUT — Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group said Friday its top military commander Mustafa Badreddine was killed in Syria.

Hezbollah said in a statement that Badreddine was killed in Syria, where it said he'd been fighting extremist groups, without giving further details.

Mustafa Badreddine
Mustafa Badreddine pictured in an undated handout image released by Hezbollah on Friday, May 13, 2016. Uncredited / AP

The Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV, which is close to the group, said he was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Badreddine became the group's top military commander in 2008 after his predecessor Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in a bomb attack in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

In the past, Israel has killed some of Hezbollah's top commanders.

Badreddine was one of four people being tried in absentia for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The 2005 suicide bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others was one of the Middle East's most dramatic political assassinations.

The trial began last year near The Hague, Netherlands, and is ongoing. A billionaire businessman, Hariri was Lebanon's most prominent politician after the 15-year civil war ended in 1990.