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A Piece of the Mughniyah Puzzle...

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Here's a story forwarded by Defense Tech contributor Aharon Etengoff, our mideast expert.

From the Sunday Times (of London)

NOTHING seemed very remarkable about the short, bearded man who mingled with other guests on Tuesday evening at a reception in Damascus, the Syrian capital, to mark the 29th anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeinis Iranian revolution.

Yet before the night was over he was dead in the twisted wreckage of his car and the inevitable assumption was that Mossad, the Israeli foreign intelligence service, had killed him with an ingeniously planted bomb.

The news spread rapidly that the dead man was Imad Mughniyeh, an elusive figure known as the Fox who had been one of the worlds most feared terrorist masterminds.

Robert Baer, a former CIA agent who spent years on his trail, said Mughniyeh was probably the most intelligent, most capable operative weve ever run across.

As the Israelis rejoiced, Iran and Hezbollah, the militant Shiite group, which together had harnessed Mugniyehs expertise, mourned his death at a huge funeral in Beirut, where he established his terrorist network.

Mughniyehs mother, Um Imad, sat amid a sea of black chadors, a lonely, sombre figure as mourners held their heros picture aloft.

If only I had more boys to carry on in his footsteps, she sighed, confessing that she did not have any pictures of him, even from his childhood, as he had taken them away. He was the third of her sons to die in a car bombing.

With a price of $25m (12.7m) on his head, he was always vigilant. Some say he had had plastic surgery to alter his face in an effort to elude the Americans and Israelis who blamed him for plane hijackings and other bloody attacks which killed hundreds of their citizens in the Middle East and as far away as South America.

He had grown accustomed to living dangerously and there was no reason he should have feared for his safety last Tuesday as he sipped fruit juice at the party at the Iranian cultural centre. Mughniyeh was on fairly good terms with everybody present almost all the leaders of the Damascus-based militant groups were represented.

At 10.35pm he decided to go home. Having exchanged customary kisses with his host, Hojatoleslam Ahmad Musavi, the newly appointed Iranian ambassador, Mughniyeh stepped into the night.

Minutes later he was seated in his silver Mitsubishi Pajero in a nearby street when a deafening blast ripped the car apart and killed him instantly.

According to Israeli intelligence sources, someone had replaced the headrest of the drivers seat with another containing a small high-explosive charge. Israel welcomed his death but the prime ministers office denied responsibility. Hezbollah accused the Zionist Israelis of killing its brother commander but believed the explosive had been detonated in another car by satellite.

Read the rest of the Times story HERE...

-- Christian

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