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Israel raises alert level after killing of Hezbollah leader
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16:51, February 14, 2008

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Israel raised the level of alert at its embassies abroad and along the northern border following the assassination of Hezbollah military leader Imad Moughniyah, Xinhua learned on Thursday.

In an official statement issued by the Israeli Prime Minister's Bureau, Israel denied any involvement in the assassination of Moughniyah in a blast in Damascus. Syria, Iran and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah had accused Israel of being behind the blast.

Israeli security establishment expressed fears of the possibility that Hezbollah will try to carry out a major attack against Israeli or Jewish targets worldwide in response to the killing.

Israeli intelligence agencies will increase their efforts togather information on possible plots to attack the country's embassies and consulates worldwide, local daily Ha'aretz reported. Additional representative bodies, such as Israel's airline and Jewish Agency branches overseas have also been instructed to heighten their alert level.

The assassination occurred late Tuesday night when the SUV Moughniyah just entered and exploded in an upscale neighborhood of Damascus, not far from an Iranian educational institution.

According to Ha'aretz, Moughniyah was implicated in the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine and French peacekeeping barracks in Beirut, which killed over 350 people. He was also a suspected mastermind in the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy, and the 1994 Jewish cultural center bombing, both in Buenos Aires. More than 100 people died in those two attacks.

Israel also held Moughniyah responsible for the Hezbollah raids which captured Israeli soldiers in 2000 and 2006 respectively, and considered him a key liaison between the organization and Iran.

"He was not only being targeted by Israel, but also by the Americans and many other parties," Israeli former Mossad head Danny Yatom was quoted by Israel Radio as saying. "He was one of the terrorists with the most amount of intelligence agencies and states chasing him."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Wednesday said that "the world is a better place without this man."

Source: Xinhua



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