At the outbreak of war between Israel and Hezbollah, I reported Imad Fayez Mugniyah, Hezbollah’s military commander, was likely behind the operation to snatch the Israeli soldiers, and documented Hezbollah and Mugniyah’s links to Iran and historical involvement in international terrorism. Dr. Magnus Ranstorp explained Hezbollah’s command structure and decision making processes, Mugniyah’s likely involvement with the capture of the Israeli soldiers and Hezbollah’s links to Iran and Hamas.
On Saturday, the Jerusalem Post reported on Mugniyah’s involvement in the current conflict and his past history with Fatah and in Hezbollah. Mugniyah is fingered as the likely operative “behind the abduction of the two IDF soldiers on July 12” as well as “in charge of Hizbullah’s rocket unit in south Lebanon.”
Hizbullah’s top commander in southern Lebanon is a veteran Fatah operative who was very close to former Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat when the PLO was based in Beirut, Fatah officials said over the weekend. They identified the man as Imad Mughniyeh, a former officer in Arafat’s Force 17 presidential guard who has been in charge of Hizbullah’s military operations in south Lebanon for the past decade.
“Imad Mughniyeh is the overall commander of the Islamic Resistance [Hizbullah’s armed wing] in southern Lebanon,” said a Fatah official who said he knew Mughniyeh well during the ’70s and ’80s. “He’s nicknamed tha’lab [the fox], and today he’s considered the second important figure in Hizbullah after Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. We’re very proud to have a Palestinians holding such a high position in Hizbullah,” the Fatah official said.