A 'great achievement for the free world'

MKs laud killing of 'the most dangerous terrorist of all time.'

Yatom 224.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yatom 224.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a senior Hizbullah commander who masterminded attacks on US and Israeli targets, was heralded among Knesset members Wednesday as a "great achievement for the free world." Former Mossad chief MK Danny Yatom (Labor) said that Mughniyeh was the "most dangerous and cruel terrorist of all time." "There are numerous intelligence agencies and countries that have been pursuing him, and the one that was successful in reaching him [has proven itself] to have a high intelligence and operational capability," said Yatom. Israeli officials would not comment on accusations that the Mossad engineered the assassination. Mughniyeh was killed when a bomb exploded in his car in Damascus. He was the mastermind behind the 1992 bombing of Israel's embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were killed, and the attacks on the US Embassy and US Marine barracks that killed hundreds of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s. Yatom said that Mughniyeh's death was a serious blow to Hizbullah, both in terms of morale and in terms of its operational capabilities. He said the assassination could only have been made possible by penetrating deep into the organization. "Whoever can take him out can take out anyone in Hizbullah," said Yatom. "It will take Hizbullah a long time to find an heir... Mughniyeh was responsible for the deaths of many Jews, Israelis, Americans, and was solely and directly responsible for Hizbullah attacks abroad, through close cooperation with Iran." Environment Minister Gideon Ezra (Kadima), who served as minister of internal security in the previous government, said that whoever carried out Mughniyeh's assassination should "be blessed." "I, of course, do not know who carried out the assassination of Imad, but he should be blessed," said Ezra. "According to sources that I am privy to, he was also involved in the kidnapping of our soldiers [Eldad] Regev and [Ehud] Goldwasser." MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said that the assassination was a message to other terrorists. "I don't know who is responsible for his death, but the world today is a better, cleaner and safer place because of it. Israel had a long bill to settle with Mughniyeh, and it was not the only country with an account. I hope other terrorists have understood the message that was spelled today," said Hasson. "When bastards like Mughniyeh, whose hands are covered in the blood of Israelis, Argentinean Jews and Americans, go on to a 'better place,' our world also becomes a better place," said former chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud). MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor), who recently served as deputy defense minister, echoed the sentiments of the other MKs, adding that Mughniyeh was a "key figure" in the international terrorism network.