Senior Hezbullah military leader assassinated in Damascus

February 13, 2008 § 1 Comment

(Screen shot of southern Beirut from al-Jazeera. The caption reads: Breaking: Hezbullah blames Israel for the assassination of ‘Amad al-Mughniya and Tel Aviv denies any connection to the assassination.)

Al-Jazeera reports that a senior Hezbullah military leader, ‘Amad al-Mughniya, was killed by a car explosion in a residential area of Damascus. Hezbullah says that Israeli operatives are responsible for the assassination. Crowds flooded the street in al-Dahiyya (southern Beirut) and Mughniya’s brother opened up his home for mourning.

The al-Jazeera correspondent in Damascus said that the security situation around the site of the explosion in Damascus is incredibly tight and no one is being allowed to take photographs. (Contrast this with every explosion in Beirut in which images are immediately and widely publicized.) The correspondent said that the car (a Mitsubishi) was moved an hour after the explosion — the bulk of the damage can be seen on the driver’s side.

Al-Jazeera reports that in the US, Mughniya is being portrayed as a “big terrorist” who was responsible for several hostage situations.

Israel’s Involvement

Al-Jazeera says that Israeli officials have denied any connection to the assassination after a period of silence, but Hezbullah is confident that Israel was behind the assassination — a claim bolstered by Israel’s numerous assassinations and attempted assassinations of Hezbullah leaders in the past.

The Muslim Brotherhood in Lebanon has condemned the assassination and so has Hamas. The March 14th forces have called for shared mourning on February 14th, which is the third anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. Sayyid Fadlallah, who has been the target of a failed Israeli assassination attempt, issued a statement condemning the assassination.

Al-Manar Coverage

Al-Manar published an article which praises his involvement in the Resistance and his love of Palestine. A statement from Hezbullah states that Mughniya was martyred at the hands of the Zionist enemy and that the Resistance will continue on his path until a full victory has been achieved, God willing. Al-Manar also says that Mughniya is joining a list of martyrs that have been assassinated by Israel.

Western Press Coverage

The Western press has already launched a campaign to further demonize Hezbullah and cast the assassination as a much-deserved killing. ABC News portrays Mughniya as a “U.S.-Wanted Terrorist,” even commenting that, “His death is a significant achievement for the intelligence organization that caused it.”

The NY Times also focuses on Mughniya’s role in “terrorist” activities and says that American officials consider Mughniya responsible for the bombings of the Marine barracks and the US embassy in Beirut in 1983. The Times article, as well as several others, makes reference to Mughniya being a “master of disguises” by having undergone plastic surgery to change his appearance.


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