Death of the ‘original Bin Laden’
One of the world’s most wanted terrorists was doubtless killed by Mossad, says Philip Jacobson
Western intelligence agencies will be breaking out the champagne to celebrate the news that Imad Mughniyeh, military commander of the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah and one of the world's most wanted terrorists, has been killed.
Hezbollah TV announced this morning that Mughniyeh was 'martyred' in a car bombing in Damascus last night "by the hands of the Zionist Israelis". Although Ehud Olmert has denied any Israeli involvement, it is an open secret that the Mossad security agency had been hunting Mughniyeh for many years.
So had the CIA, which blamed the veteran terrorist for plotting the bombing that killed 240 US servicemen in Beirut in 1983 and other attacks on the American embassy in Lebanon in which the cream of the CIA's Middle East agents perished.
Mughniyeh - whom the CIA refers to as 'the original Bin Laden' - was also suspected of organising the kidnapping of the CIA's Beirut station chief, William Buckley, and personally torturing him to death: he was also linked to the abduction of the Western hostages, including the Britons Terry Waite and John McCarthy, in Beirut during the 1980s.
Israel's relentless pursuit of Mughniyeh, who was believed to be in his mid forties, was motivated by his suspected involvement in bomb attacks on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and a Jewish community centre in the Argentine capital in the early 1990s that killed more than 120 people. His brother, also a Hezbollah militant, died in a car bombing in Beirut almost 15 years ago that was widely believed to have been an Israeli attempt to assassinate Mughniyeh.
According to Western intelligence sources, Mughniyeh subsequently based himself in Tehran - Hezbollah has close links with Iranian security organisations - and rarely returned to Lebanon. Unconfirmed reports have claimed that he was also providing his deadly expertise to al-Qaeda. ·
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