The Demise of Hizbullah's Untraceable Ghost

(New Yorker) Robin Wright - Mustafa Badreddine, a Lebanese bomb maker and one of the architects of Islamic terrorism, was Hizbullah's top military commander. Badreddine, 55, was killed in a mysterious explosion in Syria, where he commanded at least 6,000 Hizbullah fighters who are propping up the regime of President Bashar Assad. "Along with Imad Mughniyah and a couple of others, Badreddine initiated the era of modern terror in which we still live," Ryan Crocker, a former ambassador to Lebanon, told me Friday. "I could not be happier that someone killed the son of a bitch." Badreddine gained fame for developing a sophisticated technique for using gas to increase the power of plastic explosives. It was used in the 1983 suicide bombing of the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut, the largest loss of American military personnel in a single incident since Iwo Jima in 1945. Two months later, a truck laden with 45 large cylinders of gas connected to explosives careened through the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, and over the next few hours, five other bombs went off in Kuwait City, including one at the French Embassy. After Badreddine was caught by Kuwait, Mughniyah launched at least three commercial hijackings and a wave of kidnappings of Americans to pressure Kuwait to free him. In the end, Badreddine was freed when Saddam Hussein's troops invaded Kuwait in 1990 and the prisons were emptied. Over the next decade and a half, Mughniyah and Badreddine developed the armed wing of Hizbullah into the most sophisticated militia in the Middle East.

2016-05-16 00:00:00

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