Hezbollah Terror Chief Imad Mughniyah Killed in Damascus Blast

By News Agencies, Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondents, and Yoav Stern

Published February 13, 2008, issue of February 15, 2008.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Lebanese-based guerilla group Hezbollah said Wednesday that its deputy leader Imad Mughniyah was killed Tuesday evening in a bomb blast in a residential neighborhood of Damascus, and accused Israel of responsibility for the explosion.

“With all pride we declare a great jihadist leader of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon joining the martyrs… The brother commander hajj Imad Mughniyah became a martyr at the hands of the Zionist Israelis,” said a statement carried on Hezbollah’s television station.

The Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem initially declined comment, but later issued a statement denying Israeli involvement.

Mughniyah headed Hezbollah’s operations branch serving in a role similar to chief of staff, and had been wanted by Israel and the United States for years due to his role in numerous bombings, hijackings and abductions in which hundreds of people were killed.

He was wanted for the bombings of the Israeli embassy and the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, as well as a wave of abductions of Westerns in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Mughniyah lived a highly secretive life, constantly moving between states like Lebanon, Iran, and Syria. In the 1990s, foreign reports claim, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency tried unsuccessfully to assassinate him in a complex operation in southern Beirut.

However, the operation killed his brother, a car shop owner in Beirut. Mughniyah was expected to be present at the funeral, giving an additional chance to assassinate him, but he never showed.

The cause of the Damascus explosion, which occurred about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday evening in the upscale Kafar Soussa neighborhood, was not immediately known.

Syrian security forces quickly sealed off the area and removed the destroyed car, which had its driver’s seat and the rear seat blown away by the force of the blast. Syria later Wednesday also accused Israel of being behind the blast.

Damascus residents, some in their pajamas, gathered to inspect the damage, careful around shards of glass and debris. Three other cars parked nearby were also damaged, their windows shattered and doors blown out.

“I was awakened by the explosion, rushed to the window and saw the glow,” one witness said. He lost the windows on his 5th floor apartment, which overlooks the bombed-out SUV.

Another witness in a 7th floor apartment rushed to the windows after the blast and said he “saw one [body] covered with a white sheet on the ground.”

Both spoke on condition of anonymity.

The witnesses and Palestinian sources in Syria and Lebanon said the blast was caused by a bomb planted inside the vehicle.






Find us on Facebook!
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.