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Hezbollah leader killed in Syria blast

Latest update : 2008-02-13

Imad Moughniyah, a top Hezbollah commander, was killed in a blast in Syria on Tuesday, the group announced. Moughniyah has been accused of involvement in numerous attacks and kidnappings from the 1980s on.

BEIRUT, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Hezbollah military commander Imad
Moughniyah was killed by a car bomb in Damascus on Tuesday, the
Lebanese group said, announcing the death of the man believed to
be behind Western hostage taking in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, accused Israel
of killing Moughniyah, thought to be in his late 40s.

"After a life full of jihad, sacrifices and accomplishments
... Haj Imad Moughniyah ... died a martyr at the hands of the
Israeli Zionists," said Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war in
2006 with the Jewish state.

Islamic Jihad, a shadowy pro-Iranian group widely believed
linked to Hezbollah, kidnapped several Western hostages,
including Americans, in Beirut in the mid 1980s.

The group, at the time thought to be commanded by
Moughniyah, killed a few of its captives and exchanged others
for U.S. weapons to Iran in what  was later known as the
Iran-Contra scandal.

Among the victims of Islamic Jihad was the CIA's station

 The group was also linked to suicide bomb attacks against 
the U.S. embassy and Marine headquarters in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Moughniyah's brother was killed in a similar attack in Beirut
in 1994. Reports at the time suggested Imad was the real target.
Moughniyah had spent much of the 1990s in Iran making only few
visits to Beirut.

Some reports suggested he was in charge of Hezbollah's
operations abroad and link him to attacks on Israeli targets in
Latin America in the 1990s.

Date created : 2008-02-13