Imad Mughnieh, suspected of planning kidnappings, hijacking, and attacks in Beirut during the 1980s and '90s, was killed in Damascus Tuesday night.
A shadowy senior Hezbollah commander, thought to have masterminded spectacular terrorist attacks in the 1980s, was killed Tuesday in a Damascus car bombing that will almost certainly trigger a retaliation from the militant Shiite group.
Imad Mughnieh's legendary militant credentials, which are thought to include attacks on the US Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, made him a prime American and Israeli target for decades and a significant figure in the arsenal of Hezbollah, the Islamist political and guerrilla force that Washington calls a terrorist organization. Analysts say that with Mr. Mughnieh out of the picture, Hizbullah has lost a key asset in its ability to strike in Lebanon or the region.
"This is as big a blow as it gets for Hizbullah security. It's even bigger than killing [Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah," says Magnus Ranstorp, a Hezbollah specialist and research director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.
Mughnieh, in his mid-40s, was accused of killing more Americans than any other militant before the 9/11 attacks, and the bombings and kidnappings he is alleged to have organized are credited with ending American intervention in Lebanon under the Reagan administration.
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