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Ex-CIA Man: Mossad Killed Mughniyeh


The killing of Imad Mughniyeh looks as if was carried out by Israel's Mossad, said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Senior Director in the U.S. National Security Council on Wednesday. Riedel said Israel has carried out similar hits in Damascus in the past.

"This is a meaningful operation, regardless of whether Israel wants to admit it is behind it." Riedel said that the elimination of Mughniyeh shows that Israel successfully penetrated the Hizbullah in the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War and that the organization's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, knows he is also in the crosshairs.

Top Hizbullah Commander Killed in Damascus Car Bombing

By VOA News & WorldNetDaily

Lebanon's pro-Iranian Hizbullah guerilla group is accusing Israel in the car bomb explosion in Damascus, overnight, that killed Hizbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh - wanted in dozens of terror attacks in Lebanon and elsewhere. Israel denied responsibility.

Mughniyeh was reputed to have led a group which hijacked a TWA plane to Beirut in 1985. A U.S. Navy diver was killed in the incident. He has also been implicated in bloody terror attacks in Lebanon against the U.S. Embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983, in which 241 Marines were killed.

Al Arabiya TV said that a small explosive device placed inside Mughniyeh's car, in an upscale Damascus neighborhood, exploded in the early morning, killing Mughniyeh instantly. A Hizbullah statement called Mughniyeh a "martyr," saying that he had "joined other martyrs of the Zionist Israelis."

Intelligence sources said that Mughniyeh had undergone plastic surgery, to alter his facial features, and that he spent much of his time in Iran and Syria. Al Jazeera TV said the United States mounted several secret operations, in recent years, trying repeatedly to capture or kill Mughniyeh, but without success. There was a $25 million U.S. bounty on Mughniyeh.

Israel has accused Mughniyeh of playing a part in the 1992 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mughniyeh was being sought by 42 countries, for various terrorist acts.

Lebanese "journalist" Faisal abd al Satter, who is close to Hizbullah, called Mughniyeh's killing a "cowardly act," and said that those that criticize Hizbullah are betraying Lebanon to the United States and Israel. Al Satter called the bombing a "dastardly attack."

Hizbullah said that Mughniyeh would be buried in his home village, Teyr Dibbah, in southern Lebanon, Thursday afternoon.

Officials in Israel said they are not responsible for the death of Mughniyeh, adding Mughniyeh was responsible for some of the worst attacks ever carried out against Israel and Jews around the world. The officials said it is safe to say that they feel that his death was long overdue.

Mughniyeh had haunted Israeli officials for three decades, ever since he was a teenage sniper in Beirut working for Yasir Arafat's Force 17 militia. Two years ago he reportedly masterminded the abduction of two Israeli soldiers from Israel's northern border - an incident that led to the second Lebanon War.

Moshe Marzuk the former head of Lebanon intelligence for the Israeli Defense Forces says Israel considered Mughniyeh to be even more dangerous than Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah.

"He was very dangerous because he was the same level as (Hizbullah leader) Hassan Nasrallah or even more," Marzuk said. "Because he was involved in any direct military attacks against Israel (and) brought the Iranian policy behind these attacks with all his hatred against Israel."

Marzuk said Israeli intelligence officials always went on alert when they heard Imad Mughniyeh was in southern Lebanon because it usually meant an attack was imminent. Israeli officials said Mughniyeh attacked Israeli interests and Jews around the world - saying he was responsible for the 1992 bombings of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish Cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed more than 100 people.

As to who killed Imad Mughniyeh? "Maybe it can be another side, not exactly Israel," Marzuk said. "Imad Mughniyeh had other enemies, not only Israel, of course the Americans and maybe Syria also. And maybe elements in Iraq, because we know that in the last few years Mughniyeh was also acting in Iraq. He was behind the training of the Mahdi army, the Shia army in Iraq, and behind many terrorist acts in Iraq against Americans there, and he connected to Iran there."

Marzuk says whoever killed Imad Mughniyeh; his death is unlikely to lead to a direct Hizbullah attack on Israel from Lebanon. Marzuk says while Hizbullah will probably try and attack Israel, one of the lessons Mughniyeh taught Hizbullah is that Israel can be attacked from anywhere in the world.

A representative of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised Mughniyeh as a hero. Abbas Zakki, the ambassador to Lebanon for the PA president's Fatah organization, called Mughniyeh a "hero and a loss for the Palestinian people and the Muslim nation. We mourn with our brothers in Hizbullah this great leader who died today," Zakki said on Hizbullah's Al Manar TV as screened and translated by WND.

Zakki said he is "proud that Mughniyeh was part of the Fatah revolutionary movement and that he fought Western Zionist and American imperialism as part of Fatah."

Danny Yatom, a former Mossad chief and current Knesset member, said Mughniyeh's death was "a great achievement for the free world in its fight on terror. Mughniyeh was one of the most dangerous and cruel terrorists of all time.

Iran Reported Making Nuke Warhead Component


Iran has begun enriching small amounts of uranium gas in order to make fissile material that is used in nuclear warheads, diplomats in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Wednesday in Vienna.

The IAEA diplomats said Iran is using ten advanced centrifuges in the Natanz nuclear installation to accomplish the technological feat. A week ago, the diplomats said Iran was experimenting with the centrifuges without using nuclear material, but now they have reported that nuclear material has been placed in the centrifuges.

Kuwait: Gulf States Assuming Israel will Destroy Iran's Nukes


A senior government official in Kuwait has hinted that Gulf States are expecting and waiting for Israel to destroy Iran's nuclear reactor before the security situation reaches critical mass.

Sami Alfaraj, advisor to the Kuwaiti government and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said Kuwait and the other Gulf States might ask both the Jewish State and the United States to guarantee their security if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear power station. "I believe in something on the same Iraqi model… We are assuming in the Gulf that Israel will take it out," Alfaraj told Reuters.

Israel destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear facility in a daring raid June 7, 1981 that neutralized its ability to function before the reactor went "hot" – thereby protecting the surrounding countries as well. Israeli intelligence had confirmed that the Iraqi government planned to produce nuclear weapons at the site.

Then, as now, Israeli officials were convinced that nuclear power in the hands of the enemy constituted an existential threat to Israel. In his briefing to IAF fighter pilots prior to the operation, then-IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Rafael Eitan said, "The alternative is our destruction."

A report by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency to be published by the end of next week indicates that questions remain about how the Islamic Republic plans to utilize the nuclear power it plans to produce.

Although Iranian scientists were able to explain the traces of bomb-grade uranium found during inspections of its nuclear research sites, they were unwilling to discuss the suspected links between the uranium enrichment already in process, high explosives tests and new missile design.

Western nations are concerned about boasts by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Islamic Republic has been testing advanced centrifuges that would enhance and streamline the nuclear power production process. According to the Associated Press, Iran is currently producing more than 300 tons of uranium hexafluoride gas, a key component used in the uranium enrichment process.

Iran has resisted all attempts by the international community, including increasingly severe sanctions imposed upon it by the UN Security Council, to cease its uranium enrichment program.

Former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said during his speech at the 8th Herzilya Conference last month that an Israeli strike might be the last chance to stop Iran from completing a nuclear weapon. Former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who also spoke at the conference, also hinted that the military option is growing more likely.

The United States and Israel in particular are convinced that Iran is intent upon producing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, to be aimed at the Jewish State. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly vowed to "wipe Israel off the map."

'Civil Union' Goes Down Knesset Drain

By &

The Knesset on Wednesday rejected two bills calling for the recognition of couples not wed by an Orthodox rabbi.

The much-touted initiative for making "civil unions" between men and women a legal alternative to marriage was defeated by a vote of 59 to 20 against the bill that had been introduced David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu).

Rotem angrily said that "a strange coalition has been formed in the Knesset between Shelly Yechimovich of Labor and Meretz, who want the homosexuals and lesbians to like them, and the Shas faction on the other hand." He claimed that Labor, Likud and Kadima had "sold out their principles" in the hopes of building the next coalition with Shas.

The Minister for Religious Services, Yitzchak Cohen (Shas), took the stand after Rotem and called out to him, paraphrasing God's words to Moses: "take your shoes off of your feet when you bring a bill like this to the Knesset. This is a shame and a disgrace. This is a Jewish state – you are destroying its foundations, you cheeky, cheap populist."

According to Rotem, "Their vote will be remembered as a spit in the face of the new immigrants and the freedom-seeking public in the country. The public will remember this on Election Days."

Single Mothers to Choose Father's Name


The Knesset has approved a law that will allow single mothers to decide what first name they want to give for that of their child's father in cases in which the identity of the father is unknown. MKs Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) and Amira Dotan (Kadima) proposed the bill.

Previously the Interior Ministry listed the name of the child's maternal grandfather as the name of the child's father, in order to give children a name to use on official documents. If the name of the maternal grandfather was not known, officials would assign a name.

Mothers will now be allowed to choose a name instead. Children will be allowed to remove the name from their documents once they reach the age of 16, or to choose a name if their mothers did not choose one already.

'Beaufort' Director Reveals Next Film

By Ha'aretz

Top Israeli film director ("Beaufort," "Campfire") Joseph Cedar's next film will tell the story of Veit Harlan, the leading German director who worked on behalf of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. As reported over the weekend on the Cinemascope blog, Cedar received the offer to direct the film from Rainer Grupe, a London producer of German origin who produced "Buffalo Soldiers."

The film will tell the story of Harlan, whose most famous film was "Jud Suss" (1940), which gave a vicious anti-Semitic slant to the 1925 book of the same name. The book, by German-Jewish author Lion Feuchtwanger, tells the story of Joseph Suss Oppenheimer, an 18th-century Jew who was a financial adviser executed amid anti-Semitism.

Cedar's new film will move between the two eras, following Harlan's production of "Jud Suss" and also reclaiming the story of Oppenheimer as a victim who was persecuted for his business success and religious faith.

Variety reported over the weekend that the film would be shot in Berlin with a budget of $10-12 million. Cedar told Variety that Harlan's film is one of the most despicable films he has ever seen, but at the same time is brilliant.

"The story behind its production is so rich and complicated. It's about a director blinded by ambition that sold his soul to Goebbels and had to deal with the consequences of his decisions that stained him for the rest of his life," Cedar told the paper.

On Saturday night, Cedar flew with his family to Los Angeles in advance of the Oscar Awards ceremony. "Beaufort," which earned him a Silver Bear award at last year's Berlin Film Festival, is competing in the best foreign language film category.

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