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Hezbollah appoints Imad's replacement

©

Latest update : 2008-02-15

Only hours after Imad Moughniyah died in a car bomb in Beirut Tuesday, a successor was named to lead the Hezbollah guerrilla army, a Lebanese security source said Friday.

BEIRUT, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Lebanon's Hezbollah has appointed
a successor to its senior guerrilla commander Imad Moughniyah
who was assassinated in Syria this week, a Lebanese security
source said on Friday.
 

The source said the appointment was made hours after the
announcement of Moughniyah's death in a car bomb in Damascus on
Tuesday. He did not identify the successor who would now command
Hezbollah's formidable and well-armed guerrilla army.
 

A joint investigation into the bombing by Syrians, Iranians
and Hezbollah was well under way and suspects had been arrested
in the Syrian capital, the source said.
 

Hezbollah and its main backer Iran have accused Israel of
killing Moughniyah, who was among the United States' most wanted
men. The Israeli government has denied any links, though its
Mossad spy service had been hunting him for two decades.
 

"A successor to Imad Moughniyah has been appointed, which is
natural," said the source, who requested anonymity. "That's how
Hezbollah works, they move quickly to choose successors of
fallen leaders."
 

The source said the successor was not one of the two names
being circulated in the Israeli media. Hezbollah leader Sayyed
Hassan Nasrallah has threatened Israel with "open war" in
retaliation for the killing.
 

Moughniyah had been in charge of Hezbollah's security organ.
He gained legendary status in Hezbollah for a string of attacks
on Israeli and Western targets in Lebanon in the 1980s.
 

An Iranian Arabic television station released mobile phone
footage of the scene minutes after the blast that killed
Moughniyah, chief of the forces of a group that fought a 34-day
war against Israel in 2006.
 

It showed the car on fire and people running past it.
 

The source said the investigation showed Moughniyah was
killed by a car bomb parked close to his car. It was detonated
remotely as he walked past after leaving a building he had been
visiting.
 

Early reports said the bomb had been placed inside
Moughniyah's car.
 


 

JOINT INVESTIGATION
 

The suspects arrested were mostly Palestinians residing in
Syria, the Lebanese source said.
 

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki agreed with
Syrian officials during a visit to Damascus on Thursday to set
up a joint team to investigate the killing, Mottaki's deputy
Alireza Sheik-Attar said on Friday.
 

Mottaki had attended Moughniyah's funeral in Beirut.
 

Moughniyah commanded the Islamic Jihad, a shadowy
pro-Iranian group which emerged in Lebanon in the early 1980s
and was believed to be linked to Hezbollah.
 

The group claimed many kidnappings and bombings but
disappeared after the release of the last Western hostages in
Lebanon shortly after the end of the civil war in 1990.
 

Moughniyah was implicated in the 1983 bombings of the U.S.
embassy and U.S. Marine and French peacekeeping barracks in
Beirut, which killed more than 350 people.
 

Israel accuses Moughniyah of planning the 1994 bombing of a
Jewish centre in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and of
involvement in a 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in the
Argentine capital that killed 28.
 

The United States indicted him for his role in planning and
participating in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner and the
killing of an American passenger.

Date created : 2008-02-15

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