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Extremists killed military chief in Syria: Hezbollah

Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Saturday blamed Islamist extremists for killing the Shiite militant group’s top military commander in Syria in an artillery attack.

The Iran-backed movement has deployed thousands of fighters in Syria where Mustafa Badreddine had led its intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

“An investigation has shown that the blast that targeted one of our positions near the Damascus international airport, leading to the martyrdom of the brother commander Mustafa Badreddine was caused by artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri (Sunni extremist) groups present in that region,” a Hezbollah statement said.

It did not name any particular group and there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
Hezbollah has been battling opponents of the regime including Sunni extremists from the Islamic State jihadist group and Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate.

A Syrian security source has told AFP that Badreddine was in a warehouse near the Damascus airport when it was rocked by a blast on Thursday night. No aircraft was heard before the explosion. In its statement on Saturday, a day after thousands attended Badreddine’s funeral in Beirut, Hezbollah vowed no let up in its war against those it describes as “criminal gangs” in Syria.                           
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