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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Hezbollah No.2 Imad Fayez Moughnieh killed in Syria

Hezbollah No.2 Imad Fayez Moughnieh killed in Syria

February 14, 2008

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
at the Israel Intelligence Heritage
& Commemoration Center (IICC) February 13, 2008 http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/ct_130208e.pdf [PDF - attached] http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ct_130208e.htm

Imad Fayez Moughnieh, No. 2 at Hezbollah and responsible for its military and terrorist operations in Lebanon and abroad, died when his car exploded in Damascus. Moughnieh was involved in many terrorist attacks against Israel, Jewish and Western targets and was on the United States' most wanted terrorists list.

Imad Fayez Moughnieh

A rare photo of Moughnieh (Al-Hajj Radwan) issued after his death
(Al-Manar TV, February 13).

Overview

1. At about 10 p.m. on the night of February 12 a car exploded in the Soussa neighborhood of Damascus . The blast killed key senior Hezbollah figure Imad Moughnieh and his bodyguard. On the morning of February 13 Hezbollah officially announced his death and accused Israel of having killed him. It further proclaimed the necessity of continuing his "jihad path" (Al-Manar TV, February 13). His funeral is supposed to take place of February 14 (Al-Jazeera TV, February 13).

Al-Arabiya TV, February 13 Al-Arabiya TV, February 13

Left: A live report from the scene of the explosion in Damascus.
Right: Pictures of the explosion (Al-Arabiya TV, February 13).

2. According to an official statement given on February 13 by the Israeli Prime Minister's media advisor, Israel is examining the reports from Lebanon and Syria relating to the death of the senior Hezbollah figure and conducting a primary examination of the details as reported in the media in recent hours. The statement asserts that Israel rejects the attempts made by terrorist elements to ascribe to it any involvement whatsoever in the incident .

3. Hajj Imad Fayez Moughnieh was Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's second in command and considered No. 2 in the organization. He was perceived as a key figure in the construction of Hezbollah's military infrastructure in Lebanon and in its operation , and at the same time responsible for the terrorist activities of the organization in Lebanon and abroad . He masterminded the hijacking of airplanes, abductions of Western diplomats, and the bombings of the American Embassy in Beirut and the Israeli Embassy and Jewish Community Center in Argentina .

4. Moughnieh was on America 's list of most wanted terrorists because of his involvement in deadly attacks against American targets in Lebanon , and a reward of $25 million was offered for information leading to his apprehension and/or conviction (See Appendix). Interpol also issued an international extradition warrant because of his involvement in the planning and carrying out of the suicide bombing attack which destroyed the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in July 1994, killing 86 innocent civilians. The following portrait of Imad Moughnieh and his activities is based on publications issued by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in recent years.

Portrait of Imad Fayez Moughnieh

Al-Nahar, February 17, 2002
Hajj Imad Fayez Moughnieh, military commander and international terrorist
(Al-Nahar, February 17, 2002).

5. Biographical data on Moughnieh is scarce, as he was extremely cautious and kept his comings and goings secret. Imad Fayed Moughnieh, called Hajj Radwan by his Hezbollah supporters, was was a Shi'ite Muslim, born July 12, 1964 in the village of Tayir Debba east of Tyre in south Lebanon. The last years of his life were spent on the move between Beirut , Iran and Syria , the focal points of Hezbollah's activities.

6. When the Lebanese civil war broke out in 1975 Moughnieh joined the ranks of Fatah . At the end of 1982, when the Palestinian terrorists left Lebanon , he joined Hezbollah, which was in its infancy. Because of his close relations with Sheikh Fadlallah, the most prominent Shi'ite cleric in Lebanon , after a short time he was put in charge of the organization's military security wing . From the middle 1980s he was behind the establishment of Hezbollah's military apparatus, which was called the Islamic Jihad Council . The Council was a staff body which on the one hand was responsible for building the organization's military might and preparing it for emergencies, and on the other responsible for its terrorist activities in Lebanon and beyond. The name of the Council appears on documents seized from Hezbollah during the second Lebanon war (See below).

7. Moughnieh was also responsible for carrying out many murderous terrorist attacks against innocent civilians and Israeli, Jewish and Western targets. He masterminded a long series of terrorist attacks in Lebanon and abroad including lethal attacks against American and Western targets, hijacking planes, abducting Western hostages, attacking the IDF in Lebanon , firing rockets at Israeli targets and attacking Western targets abroad. He also supervised the construction of terrorist networks abroad and handled agents all over the world. He was responsible for the deaths and wounding of hundreds of innocent people . 1

Terrorist Attacks Against Western Targets

8. As the person in charge of the organization's terrorist-military wing, during the 1980s Moughnieh was involved in a large number of attacks on Lebanese soil, generally against Western targets. The attacks, supported by Iran and Syria , killed hundreds of people and wounded several hundred more. Among those killed were 300 American and more than 40 French soldiers . In the final analysis, his killing spree in Lebanon led to the withdrawal of the multi-national force in Lebanon and to Syria 's increased patronage of the country.

9. In addition to commanding Hezbollah's intensive attacks against the IDF in Lebanon at the time he also planned and executed attacks against Western targets, the most prominent of which were the following:

1) The suicide car bombing of the American Embassy Beirut , which killed 63 people (April 18, 1983).

American Embassy in Beirut American Embassy in Beirut

The attack on the American Embassy in Beirut in 1982 from Suicide Bombing Actions, a book published in Beirut in November 1985.

2) The attack against the Marine command center in Beirut : a truck carrying 5,450 kilograms ( 11,990 pounds ) of TNT broke through the camp gate, entered the main building and blew up. The explosion destroyed the building and caused the deaths of 241 Marines (October 1983). 2

Marine command center in Beirut
The attack on the Marine command center in Beirut in 1982: before and after.

3) An attack on the base of the French unit of the multi-national force : a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber killed 40 French soldiers (October 1983).

4) Attacks against the American Embassy in Kuwait ( 1983, 1984).

5) Abduction and murder of William Berkley , CIA resident in Lebanon (1983).

6) Murder of Colonel Higgins, who served with the UN observers in south Lebanon (1988).

7) Hijacking two Kuwait Airways planes (1984, 1988).

8) Hijacking a TWA flight and murdering one of the passengers, an American citizen (1985)

9) Abductions of dozens of Western civilians in Lebanon and murder many of them, using the names of fictitious organizations (1983 till the end of the 1980s).

Terrorist Attacks Against Israeli and Jewish Targets Abroad

10. Imad Moughnieh headed Hezbollah's operative wing, which specialized in terrorist attacks in the international arena (the group called itself the "Islamic Jihad" to hide its activity and targets). It was a operations group which established branches all over the world. Among the more prominent attacks in which Moughnieh was involved were two in Argentina :

1) March 1992 : The attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires , which killed 29 people.

2) July 1994 : The attack on the Jewish Community Center (the AMIA building) in Buenos Aires , which killed 86 people and wounded 230.

Argentina's wanted list
Argentina's wanted list: at the bottom left, Imad Moughnieh, the lone Lebanese
among Iranians (Website of Argentina's Chief Prosecutor).

11. In January 2003 the Argentinean intelligence services (SIDE) prepared a 150-page report summarizing their findings relating to Iranian and Hezbollah responsibility for the bombing of the AMIA building in 1994 . The report provided the basic evidence on which investigating judge Galiano's report was based and the steps that were taken as a result. The report, some of which was leaked to the media, placed full responsibility for the attack on Iran (including leader Khamenei and the intelligence minister at the time, Ali Fallahijan) and Hezbollah . The report also mentioned Imad Moughnieh as heading the special operational unit (nicknamed the "Islamic Jihad") to which Iranian intelligence turned to carry out the attack, using it as subcontractor .

12. Another team appointed to investigate the affair, headed by Argentina 's Attorney General Alberto Nisman, held a press conference on October 25, 2006, to announce the findings of the investigation. Their report determined unequivocally that the decision to blow up the building had been made by the upper echelons of the Iranian regime and that carrying out the attack had been delegated by the Iranians to their proxy, Hezbollah . The attorney general therefore asked Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral to issue international warrants for the arrest of the seven senior Iranians and for senior Hezbollah operative, Imad Moughnieh . 3

Jewish and Israeli terrorist attack targets in Argentina
Jewish and Israeli terrorist attack targets in Argentina : the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA building in Buenos Aires after the attacks.

The Central Role Played by Imad Moughnieh in Constructing Hezbollah's Military Infrastructure in South Lebanon

13. Moughnieh was a key figure in constructing Hezbollah's military infrastructure in south Lebanon and in operating it in emergencies. He built an upgraded military infrastructure which turned Hezbollah from a terrorist organization with guerilla capabilities into an organization with the military capabilities similar to those of a national state . He also commanded Hezbollah fighting against the IDF during the second Lebanon war. 4

14. During the second Lebanon war classified Hezbollah documents were seized which had been issued by the Jihad Council, which was commanded by Imad Moughnieh. For example:

Hezbollah documents
The introduction to a confiscated document detailing Hezbollah's battle plan for the Christian town of Deir Mimas in the eastern sector of south Lebanon . In addition to its defensive missions, the Deir Mimas sector was allotted the task of firing rockets at the Israel towns and villages in the Galilee panhandle. 5
Hezbollah documents
In the village of Aita al-Shaab in the central sector of south Lebanon three loose-lease binders were found with range cards for 120mm mortar shells and improved 122mm Grad rockets (with a range of 20 km 12.4 miles ) for the Shihin region. The cards belonged to the artillery division of the "Nasser unit" south of the Litani River , subordinate to the Jihad Council. Most of the rockets used in the attacks against Israeli towns and villages during the second Lebanon war were 122mm.

Appendix

Imad Moughnieh: Senior Terrorist Wanted by the FBI
(From the FBI's Website)

Most Wanted by the FBI

IMAD FAYEZ MUGNIYAH

Alias: -Hajj

DESCRIPTION

Date of Birth Used: -1962- Hair: -Brown

Place of Birth: - Lebanon - Eyes: -Unknown

Height: -5'7"- Sex: -Male

Weight: -145 to 150 pounds- Citizenship: -Lebanese

Build: -Unknown- -

Language: -Arabic

Scars and Marks: -None known

Remarks: - Mugniyah is the alleged head of the security apparatus for the terrorist organization, Lebanese Hizballah. He is thought to be in Lebanon .

CAUTION

Imad Fayez Mugniyah was indicted for his role in planning and participation in the June 14, 1985, hijacking of a commercial airliner which resulted in the assault on various passengers and crew members, and the murder of one U.S. citizen.

REWARD

The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension and/or conviction of Imad Fayez Mugniyah.


1 For further information see see the ITIC Bulletins "Hezbollah Profile of the Lebanese Shiite Terrorist Organization of Global Reach Sponsored by Iran and Supported by Syria," Part A, June 2003, at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hezbollah.htm and Part B, July 2003, at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/bu/hizbullah/pb/hezb_B.htm ..

2 The FBI's forensic laboratory called it the largest conventional explosion its experts had ever had to deal with (from an American Defense Department report published in the Marine Corps Gazette , February 1984).

3 For further information see our November 14, 2006 Bulletin entitled "Argentina accuses Iran of responsibility for the Hezbollah terrorist attack" . Also see our March 28, 2007 Bulletin entitled "Following an appeal from the Argentinean Attorney General, Interpol issued international extradition warrants for five senior Iranians and one senior Hezbollah operative" .

4 For further information see our date Bulletin entitled "Hezbollah's use of Lebanese civilians as human shields: the extensive military infrastructure positioned and hidden in populated areas."

5 Ibid.

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