Top Hezbollah leader exterminated

by Infidelesto on February 13, 2008 · 1 comment

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BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) – Imad Mughniyeh, the militant accused of attacks that left hundreds of Americans and Israelis dead, including a U.S. Navy diver during the infamous 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner, has been killed, Hezbollah said Wednesday.

The militant group blamed Israel for the assassination – a charge the Jewish state denied – but it did not say how he died. However, Middle East media reported he was killed in a recent car bomb in Syria.

His killing is a major blow to Hezbollah, which fought Israel in the summer 2006 war in Lebanon, and its Iranian and Syrian backers.

Mughniyeh, who had been in hiding for years, was among the fugitives indicted in the United States for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed. He was also suspected of masterminding attacks on the U.S. Embassy and the Marine base in Lebanon that killed more than 260 Americans in the 1980s when he was then the Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s security chief.

Mughniyeh, 45, was also the reputed leader of a group that held Westerners hostage in Lebanon, among them journalist Terry Anderson, a former Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent who was held captive for six years.

Mughniyeh is also believed by Israel to have been involved in planning the 1992 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were killed and the blast at a Buenos Aires Jewish center two years later that killed 95.

Mughniyeh is on an FBI wanted list with a $25 million bounty on his head. The bounty is equal to that the U.S. has put for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

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