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Kremlin: Media reports on death of Hezbollah commander in Syria require verification

May 13, 12:14 UTC+3
Vladimir Putin's press secretary was asked if Mustafa Badreddine's death was the result of joint actions of the Russian and Israeli military
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Adnan Badreddine (left), brother of top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine, grieves at his brother's picture in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon

Adnan Badreddine (left), brother of top Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine, grieves at his brother's picture in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon

© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

SOCHI, May 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin has seen media reports alleging that Mustafa Badreddine, a commander of the Hezbollah armed wing has died in Syria, however, believes that these reports require verification, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.

"We have seen the corresponding media reports, but don’t know if they are credible," he said. "Of course, this information should be checked," the official added.

Asked if Badreddine’s death is the result of joint actions of the Russian and Israeli military, Peskov said this question should be addressed to the Russian Defense Ministry.

"I can only remind you that at the very beginning of the Russian Aerospace Force operation in Syria there were contacts between the Russian and Israeli military on which understanding was reached between President Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the communications channels certainly work," Peskov said.

Earlier on Friday, the al-Mayadeen television station reported with reference to a communique of the Lebanese Shiite party that one of the facilities of the Hezbollah fighters in the area of ··Damascus International Airport, where Badreddine was staying, was attacked overnight to Wednesday. According to the report, Badreddine, 55, died in an Israeli air strike. Israel has not commented on the claim. Announcing Badreddine's death, Hezbollah said in an initial statement: "He took part in most of the operations of the Islamic Resistance since 1982," referring to the group's military wing.

Fighters of the Hezbollah armed wing have been fighting on the side of the Syrian army against the armed gangs since 2012. Representatives of the Shiite party are members of the Lebanese government and have a parliamentary faction.

In 2011, the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon charged Badreddine and four other Hezbollah members with involvement in the assassination in 2005 of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and issued a warrant for their arrest. The Hezbollah leadership has rejected the accusations and refused to turn over the suspects to the international court of justice. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called the Tribunal in The Hague a hostile authority, working in the interests of the United States and Israel.

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