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  Monday, March 8, 2021
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Hezbollah has blamed Israel's secret service for the death on Wednesday
Hezbollah has blamed Israel's secret service for the death on Wednesday of one the Lebanese radical group's top commanders, implicated in several attacks on U.S. and Israeli targets.

Hezbollah told Al-Manar TV channel that Imad Mughniyeh, 45, who was on the terrorist wanted lists of the U.S. and Israel, was killed by a car bomb in Damascus early on Wednesday. The group said Israeli intelligence agency Mossad orchestrated the killing.

Tel Aviv has denied a role in the killing. "Tel Aviv dismisses attempts by terrorist groups to link the incident to Israel," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

In the early 1980s Mughniyeh, who was believed to have led Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah's armed wing, was linked to suicide bomb attacks at the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 43 diplomatic staff and 312 U.S. and French servicemen.

He was also implicated in an explosion at the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people in 1994, and the Israeli Embassy in the city in 1992, when 29 were killed and about 300 injured.

Israeli media reported earlier that Mughniyeh was behind the capture of two Israeli soldiers in July 2006 in the border raid that led to Israel's costly military operation in Lebanon which took the lives of around 1,000 civilians and crippled the country's infrastructure. Mughniyeh was also reported to have been a top Hezbollah commander in the month-long war.

Mughniyeh's funeral, set for Thursday, will coincide with demonstrations to mark the third anniversary of the assassination of Lebanon's ex-prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Saad Hariri, the late premier's son and leader of the ruling majority, called on Lebanese citizens in early February to take to the streets on that day to unleash a "new intifada for independence."

Lebanon is caught up in an ongoing political crisis as parliament has been unable to elect a president since November 23 over disputes between the ruling majority and the opposition led by Hezbollah, believed to enjoy the backing of Syria and Iran.


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