GLOBAL ECONOMY

Hezbollah: Insurgents killed top military commander in Syria

  • Hezbollah supporters carry the picture of their slain commander Mustafa Badreddine, who was killed in Syria, during his funeral procession in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 13, 2016. Badreddine died in an explosion in Damascus, a death that is a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Hezbollah supporters carry the picture of their slain commander Mustafa Badreddine, who was killed in Syria, during his funeral procession in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 13, 2016. Badreddine died in an explosion in Damascus, a death that is a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Hezbollah supporters carry the coffin of their slain commander Mustafa Badreddine, draped in a Hezbollah flag, who was killed in Syria, during his funeral procession in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 13, 2016. Badreddine died in an explosion in Damascus, a death that is a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Hezbollah supporters carry the coffin of their slain commander Mustafa Badreddine, draped in a Hezbollah flag, who was killed in Syria, during his funeral procession in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 13, 2016. Badreddine died in an explosion in Damascus, a death that is a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pictures of slain top commander Mustafa Badreddine, who was killed in Syria, hang during his funeral procession in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 13, 2016. Badreddine died in an explosion in Damascus, a death that is a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. Arabic reads, "The martyr commander Mustafa Badreddine."(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Pictures of slain top commander Mustafa Badreddine, who was killed in Syria, hang during his funeral procession in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, May 13, 2016. Badreddine died in an explosion in Damascus, a death that is a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict next door. Arabic reads, "The martyr commander Mustafa Badreddine."(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group says its top military commander was killed in Syria by insurgents shelling.

The group says the blast that killed Mustafa Badreddine near the Damascus International Airport was caused by artillery shelling by "takfiri" groups, a term Hezbollah uses to refer to Sunni extremists.

The group said in a statement Saturday that Badreddine's killing will only boost Hezbollah's "will and intention to continue fighting these criminal gangs."

Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to back President Bashar Assad's government against militants trying to remove him from power.

The group announced Badreddine's death on Friday without saying when the attack occurred. It said the group opened an investigation to know the reason behind the blast.