A Top Terrorist
The dark side of Hezbollah's international operations, sometimes
referred to as the "external security apparatus," is often associated
with Imad Mugniyah. Mugniyah tops the list of Lebanese suspects
wanted by Israeli intelligence agents. Allegedly trained by
Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mugniyah is suspected of involvement
in major terrorist attacks attributed to Hezbollah, including
the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983 and the hijacking
of the TWA flight in 1985.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's
General Secretary, speaking at a recent Hezbollah gathering.
Nasrallah has led Hezbollah for more than a decade.
According to intelligence analysts, Mugniyah commands a network
of agents throughout the world, from South America and the United
States to Europe and West Africa. He is believed to be a liaison
between Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas (a Palestinian organization
that the U.S. State Department considers a terrorist entity),
and to have met with Bin Laden operatives.
The Mugniyah connection raised suspicions that Hezbollah had
participated in attacks against U.S. targets, including the
bombing of the U.S. military base at Khobar Towers in 1996,
the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998,
and the strike against the USS Cole in Yemen three years
ago.The United States now offers the same reward for Mugniyah's
capture as it does for bin Laden's -- $25 million.
A Hezbollah flag depicting Sheikh Nasrallah
with a raised gun. Under Nasrallah's leadership, Hezbollah
has become one of the most powerful political parties in
Hezbollah's 1,500 guerrillas continued to fight against Israeli
soldiers on the southern border of Lebanon through 2000. An
estimated 900 Israeli soldiers died in the clashes. Responding
to a popular outcry in Israel against the occupation, Israeli
prime minister Ehud Barakevacuated troops from Lebanon in May
2000. This marked the official end of Israel's 18-year occupation
and enlarged Hezbollah's reputation as a guarantor of Lebanon's
independence, which, in turn, increased the party's popularity
NEXT - 2001-Present: Hezbollah's Future
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