Hezbollah Leader Killed in Car Bombing

February 13, 2008 04:54 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the death of senior military commander Imad Mugniyah, Hezbollah has accused Israel of orchestrating the assassination.

30-Second Summary

The overnight blast occurred in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Israel has denied involvement in the killing.

Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV announced Mugniyah’s death by stating, “With pride and honor, we announce the martyrdom of a great resistance leader who joined the procession of Islamic Resistance martyrs.”

An elusive figure, Mugniyah was the world’s most wanted terrorist before the emergence of Osama bin Laden. He is believed to have masterminded most of the Hezbollah-linked terrorist acts and anti-Western kidnappings over the past quarter century, including the 1983 attack on the U.S. marine barracks in Lebanon that killed hundreds.

Although Hezbollah started as a Shiite militia during the Lebanese Civil War, it has attained enormous political influence in Lebanon, mainly because of its military successes against Israel.

The organization has close links with Syria and Iran. The latter has condemned Mugniyah’s killing as “organized state terrorism by the Zionist regime.”

The BBC reports that the military leader’s death is a significant setback for Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian allies.

However, blogger Edward Morrissey surmises that because Mugniyah was killed in a car bombing, much like many anti-Syrian politicians, the Syrian military may have been involved in the assassination. Mugniyah was no Syrian foe, but his presence in the country might have become inconvenient.

According to political blog Outside the Beltway, Mugniyah’s assassination is welcome but of little consequence since there is no shortage of potential successors.

Headline Links: Mugniyah killed in car bomb

Reaction: Israel denies involvement

Opinion: Speculation surrounds assassination

Reference: Hezbollah

Key player: Imad Fayez Mugniyah

Historical Context: The Lebanese Civil War, 1975–89


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