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December 25, 2015 7:40 am

Kuntar Assassination Highlights Decade of IDF Success at Breaching Hezbollah Security, Says Israeli Analyst

avatar by David Daoud

A Hezbollah outpost near the Israel-Lebanon border, following withdrawal. Photo: Wikipedia.

A Hezbollah outpost near the Israel-Lebanon border, following withdrawal. Photo: Wikipedia.

The assassination of Hezbollah official Samir Kuntar highlights the success of Israel’s defense establishment in breaching the terrorist organization’s security apparatus, Israeli site Walla assessed this week.

The list of Hezbollah operatives assassinated in the last decade includes some of the organization’s “all-stars,” including “chief of staff” Imad Mughniyeh in 2008; Hassan Al-Qeis (tasked with Hezbollah’s arms acquisitions and contacts with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps); Jihad Mughniyeh earlier this year; and, most recently, Kuntar, who was leading its Golan Heights-Galilee front against Israel.

Each assassination required the gathering of extremely sensitive information on the target and his whereabouts; tight coordination between different wings of the Israeli security establishment; and absolute precision in carrying out the attack itself.

In recent years, such precision has become particularly important, due to the chaotic Syrian civil war and the entrance of foreign forces — including Russia’s and Iran’s — into the equation, further complicating matters.

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Israel’s penetration of Hezbollah’s security apparatus, which required bringing all the above factors together, was most prominently on display during the 2008 assassination of the elder Mughniyeh, according to Walla. Mughniyeh had gone to great lengths to maintain secrecy, reportedly hiding his identity even from Hezbollah operatives under his command, and undergoing multiple plastic surgeries, earning him the nickname Al-Shabah (“The Phantom”).

Despite all of his efforts, however, Mossad operatives nevertheless succeeded in locating him in Damascus. While he was attending a reception marking the 29th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, agents reportedly replaced the spare tire of his Mitsubishi Pajero with a different one, packed with explosives, and detonated it when he entered the car.

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