Imad Mughniyah, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, and perhaps second or third on America’s and Israel’s “rogue gallery” finally was caught off guard in Damascus on Tuesday night. The Hezbollah terror mastermind, who is alleged as responsible for a great deal of the terror attacks in Lebanon and elsewhere since the early 1980’s was blown up by a car bomb in the Syrian capital where he has been residing for a number of years.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin still has the “distinction” of being No. 1 on America’s Most Wanted criminal list.
Beginning with the car bombings of American and Israeli bases in Lebanon, and including the kidnappings and murders of high ranking American military and diplomatic officials, including CIA Beirut head William Buckley, Mughniyah was also responsible for several international attacks including the on the Israeli Embassy and cultural center in Buenos Aires in the 1990’s. As one of America’s top wanted, he carried a price on his head of $25 million, the same amount as Al Qaeda head Osama bin Ladin. He was also responsible for the hijacking of a TWA airliner which resulted in one American being killed and the rest of the passengers held captive in Libya for 17 days.
His death is said to have caused by a bomb planted inside the headrest on the front seat of his Mitsubishi Pajero jeep. It was definitely a professional job, which is why the Hezbollah have immediately blamed “the Zionests” for carrying out the hit. But
Imad had many enemies who wanted him dead, including the CIA and even groups within Lebanon, such as the Philange Christian militia whose leader, Bashir Jamil was alleged to have been assassinated by either the Amal militia or the group that became known as Hezbollah. Mughniyah may also have been involved in the assassination for billionaire and former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide are on a state of high alert following the attack, especially in light of Mughniyah’s funeral being today, which will probably be the center of another mass anti Israel demonstration, including a few choice words by Hezbollah’s General Secretary, Sheikh Hassan Sayed Nasrallah. What makes today’s event even more provocative is that it coincides on the third anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, meaning that there is bound to be conflict between the two groups. Mughniyah’s funeral is to be held in South Beirut, Hezbollah’s stronghold.
If it turns out that the assassination of Mughniyah was not a CIA or Israeli act, it will be interesting to see who turns up to claim the $25 million bounty that was still on his head as the time of his death. Who knows? Perhaps this act was either carried out by the Syrians (who are a bit strapped for cash these days) or even by Hezbollah people themselves who would put the reward money into Hezbollah’s general fund to assist the “poor people of Lebanon”. That would be a real slap in the face for U.S. President Bush and his Administration.