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Israel suspects Mughniyeh did it


TIMES NEWS NETWORK ONDON: All the world is focussed on Osama bin Laden, but according to those who might be expected to know he was just the diabolical inspiration, and the actual planning of last week's 'spectacular' was the product of the world's leading terrorist mastermind, a 48-year-old man who is believed to have undergone plastic surgery and may be anywhere at all today.

Imad Mughniyeh, Lebanese head of the special overseas operations for Hizbullah, has been identified by Israel's military intelligence service, Aman, as the planning, operational and logistical brain for last Tuesday's attacks, according to Jane's Intelligence Review published from London on Thursday.

The Review, headlines its piece, "Who did it" and quotes Israeli intelligence sources to say they had "only scraps of information" before last Tuesday that Mughniyeh was planning "an unprecedented massive terror attack but it was good enough for us to send a warning to our allies six weeks ago".

The sources told Jane's that their predictions were strengthened by information that "Mughniyeh (recently) met with some of his dormant agents on secret trips to Germany". They said that he had forged close links with the Iraqi Intelligence Service (SSO), who they suspect of financing the operation.

The sources also identified another prime suspect, Dr Ayman Al Zawahiri, who heads the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and is described by Jane's as a senior member of Al Qa'ida and possible successor of the ailing Osama bin Laden.

According to other reports here, Britain is giving due weight to the Israeli suggestions and is trying to trace the last time al-Zawahiri used one of his multiple aliases and false French, Swiss and Dutch passports to visit Britain. Several of his supporters are known to have been active in London, not least three jailed men awaiting extradition to the US for their part in the bombing of two American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

However, some experts warn that even though Jane's is considered a reliable source of information, the Israeli suggestions may be in line with their well-documented attempts to link known West Asian terrorist groups with the US attacks.

Mughniyeh is said to be the only one who tried a similar 'spectacular' before, pulling of the "highest goal of any terrorist organisation (until last week): blowing up an Israeli El Al airliner over Tel Aviv on April 12, 1997".

Responsible for scores of bombings since 1983, including the kidnapping and murder of the head of the CIA in Beirut, the Israeli sources say that "bin Laden is a schoolboy in comparison with Mughniyeh. The guy is a sick man, a genius, someone who refined the art of terrorism to its utmost level. We studied him and reached the conclusion that he is a clinical psychopath motivated by uncontrollable psychological reasons, which we have given up trying to understand".

The sources told Jane's that Mughniyeh is wanted by several Western governments including the US who had earlier put a two-million-dollar price on his head.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 20, 2001


The "ailing" Osama bin Laden?

-- Rachel Gibson (, September 20, 2001.

Yes, what's that all about? This is the first reference I've heard to bin Laden's health.

-- Uncle Fred (, September 21, 2001.

Reportedly Bin Ladden has cancer of an unspecified type.

-- Rich Marsh (, September 21, 2001.

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