Tel Aviv, Asharq Al-Awsat- Israeli sources have revealed that Hezbollah Commander Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated by Israeli Mossad agents and aided by information gathered by the Central Intelligence Agency from Hezbollah commander Ali Moussa Daqduq, who was arrested in Iraq in January 2007.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth revealed that the CIA arrested Daqduq, a commander in the Lebanese movement near Karbala, Iraq, in 2007. He had been sent to Iran by Mughniyeh in order to receive training, following this Daqduq helped to train elements of the Mahdi army in Iraq.
Yedioth Ahronoth also alleges that Daqduq had given an accurate physical description of Mughniyeh, as well as providing information regarding his behavior, his military tactics, his known acquaintances, and the secret phone number that Mughniyeh used.
Yedioth Ahronoth said that it had received this information from an unnamed Lebanese official who was commissioned with investigating Mughniyeh’s assassination, as well as from former CIA case officer Robert Baer.
The newspaper added that Mughniyeh had made the mistake of a lifetime on the day of his assassination by appearing at a location where Israeli Mossad agents were expecting him. The Mossad agents targeted Mughniyeh on 12 February 2008 while he was attending a reception held by the new Iranian Ambassador to Syria celebrating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
The newspaper alleged that Mughniyeh spent the night in the company of an unnamed woman, and in order to avoid gossip had given his usual bodyguards and chauffeur the day off, instead driving his own silver-colored Mitsubishi Pajero to the reception.
According to the Yedioth Ahronoth, the explosives were planted by an Israeli agent, who swapped the car’s headrest with another loaded with explosives.
News of Mughniyeh’s assassination was met with condemnation and anger in some parts of the Arab world, with the Israelis fearing an immediate retaliation that did not materialized. With the first anniversary of Mughniyeh’s death fast approaching, Israeli fears are re-surfacing.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed to avenge the killing of top commander Imad Mughniyeh on 29 January 2009 during a rare news conference where he said via video link “The Israelis live in fear of our revenge” adding “The decision to respond to the killing is still on. We decide the time and place.”