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Good Riddance: Imad Mugniyeh

Great news from Syria. Imad Mughniyeh, one of the world’s worst terrorists, has been killed by a car bomb in Damascus. He is all but forgotten now, but Mughniyeh, a leader of Hezbollah, was the original Osama bin Laden—a terrorist kingpin who was responsible for hundreds of deaths, primarily Americans and Israelis. He had a $25 million American bounty on his head, the same size as the reward for bin Laden. It’s not hard to see why. This AP story sums up his reign of terror:

Mughniyeh, who had been in hiding for years, was among the fugitives indicted in the United States for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed. He was also suspected of masterminding attacks on the U.S. Embassy and the Marine base in Lebanon that killed more than 260 Americans in the 1980s when he was then the Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s security chief.

Mughniyeh, 45, was also the reputed leader of a group that held Westerners hostage in Lebanon, among them journalist Terry Anderson, a former Associated Press chief Middle East correspondent who was held captive for six years.

Mughniyeh is also believed by Israel to have been involved in planning the 1992 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were killed and the blast at a Buenos Aires Jewish center two years later that killed 95.

Hezbollah predictably blamed Israel for his death. That’s quite possible, although it’s also possible that he was killed by Syria’s intelligence services (for whom car bombings are a favorite assassination technique) or by a competing faction of Islamist thugs.

I would like to think there is even a chance he was killed by American operatives from the CIA or Special Operations Command. But while possible that seems unlikely; car bombs aren’t a typical American touch, and our commandos are not known for operating in Syria—although they should be.

Frankly it’s a disgrace that our forces didn’t manage to kill Mugniyeh long ago, a problem that can be attributed largely to the excessive caution that numerous American administrations, from Reagan on, have displayed in fighting terrorists. Robert Baer’s book See No Evil provides some details.

Even if it occurred far too late, the civilized world should rejoice at the demise of this monster. But keep in mind that Hezbollah has plenty of other killers just as vicious and cruel waiting in the wings.



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