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Top Hezbollah Commander Killed in Damascus Car Bombing


Lebanon's pro-Iranian Hezbollah guerilla group is accusing Israel in the car bomb explosion in Damascus, overnight, that killed Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh - wanted in dozens of terror attacks Lebanon and elsewhere. Edward Yeranian reports from Beirut.

Hezbollah's al Manar Television announced its top foreign intelligence agent, Imad Mughniyeh, was killed in a car bomb explosion in Damascus, accusing Israel of masterminding the attack. Israel denies responsibility.

Mughniyeh was reputed to have led a group which hijacked a TWA plane to Beirut in 1985. A U.S. Navy diver was killed in the incident. He has also been implicated in bloody terror attacks in Lebanon against the U.S. Embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983, in which 241 Marines were killed.

Al Arabiya TV says that a small explosive device placed inside Mughniyeh's car, in an upscale Damascus neighborhood, exploded in the early morning, killing Mughniyeh instantly.

A Hezbollah statement calls Mughniyeh a "martyr," saying that he had "joined other martyrs of the Zionist Israelis."

Intelligence sources say that Mughniyeh had undergone plastic surgery, to alter his facial features, and that he spent much of his time in Iran and Syria.

Al Jazeera TV says the United States mounted several secret operations, in recent years, trying repeatedly to capture or kill Mughniyeh, but without success. There was a $25 million U.S. bounty on Mugniyah.

Israel has accused Mughniyeh of playing a part in the 1992 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Mughniyeh was being sought by 42 countries, for various terrorist acts.

Lebanese journalist Faisal abd al Satter, who is close to Hezbollah, calls Mughniyeh's killing a "cowardly act," and says that those that criticize Hezbollah are betraying Lebanon to the United States and Israel.

Al Satter calls the bombing a "dastardly attack."

Hezbollah says that Mughniyeh will be buried in his home village, Teyr Dibbah, in southern Lebanon, Thursday afternoon.

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