|World Trade Center - Who Did
An Alternative View From Jane's
Israel's military intelligence service, Aman, suspects that Iraq is
state that sponsored the suicide attacks on the New York Trade Center
and the Pentagon in Washington. Directing the mission, Aman officers
believe, were two of the world's foremost terrorist masterminds: the
Lebanese Imad Mughniyeh, head of the special overseas operations for
Hizbullah, and the Egyptian Dr Ayman Al Zawahiri, senior member of
Al-Qaeda and possible successor of the ailing Osama Bin Laden.
The two men have not been seen for some time. Mughniyeh is probably
world's most wanted outlaw. Unconfirmed reports in Beirut say he has
undergone plastic surgery and is unrecognisable. Zawahiri is thought
be based in Egypt. He could be Bin Laden's chief representative outside
The Iraqis, who for several years paid smaller groups to do their dirty
work, were quick to discover the advantages of Al-Qaeda. The Israeli
sources claim that for the past two years Iraqi intelligence officers
were shuttling between Baghdad and Afghanistan, meeting with Ayman
Zawahiri. According to the sources, one of the Iraqi intelligence
officers, Salah Suleiman, was captured last October by the Pakistanis
near the border with Afghanistan. The Iraqis are also reported to have
established strong ties with Imad Mughniyeh.
"We've only got scraps of information, not the full picture," admits
intelligence source, "but it was good enough for us to send a warning
six weeks ago to our allies that an unprecedented massive terror attack
was expected. One of our indications suggested that Imad Mughniyeh
with some of his dormant agents on secret trips to Germany. We believe
that the operational brains behind the New-York attack were Mughniyeh
and Zawahiri, who were probably financed and got some logistical support
from the Iraqi Intelligence Service (SSO)."
Mughniyeh was the only one believed to have tried it before. On April
12th 1997, he was reported to be only two hours away from achieving
highest goal of any terrorist organisation (until last week): blowing
an Israeli El-Al airliner above Tel Aviv. A man carrying a forged
British passport with the name Andrew Jonathan Neumann was in a
Jerusalem hotel preparing a bomb he was supposed to take on board an
El-Al flight leaving Israel, when it accidentally went off. Andrew
Jonathan Neumann was very badly injured but strong enough to reveal
later to the Israelis that he was not British but Lebanese, and that
operation was supposed to be a special "gift" to Israel from Imad Mughniyeh.
"Bin Laden is a schoolboy in comparison with Mughniyeh," says an Israeli
who knows Mughniyeh . "The guy is a genius, someone who refined the
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.
killing of his two brothers by the Americans only inflamed his strong
Experts on Iraq and Saddam Hussein also believe that Iraq was the state
behind the two terror masterminds. "In recent months, there was a
change, and Iraq decided to get into the terror business. On July 7th,
they tried for the first time to send a suicide bomber, trained in
Baghdad, to blow up Tel Aviv airport (Foreign Report No. 2651)."
Our sources believe that it will be very difficult to get to the bottom
of this unprecedented terror operation. However, they believe the chief
of the Iraqi SSO is Qusai Hussein, the dictator's son, and his
organisation is the most likely to have been involved.
Mughniyeh, 48, is a "sick man", says an intelligence officer who was
charge of his file. He is considered by Western intelligence agencies
the most dangerous active terrorist today. He is wanted by several
governments and the Americans have put a $2m reward on his head.
[Detailed list of Mughniyeh operations removed for Non-Subscriber Extract]
It was the assassination of one man in March 1984 that is said to have
made Mughniyeh the CIA's most wanted terrorist. Mughniyeh allegedly
kidnapped the head of the CIA station in Beirut, William Buckley. The
kidnapping triggered what later became known as 'Irangate', when the
Americans tried to exchange Buckley (and others) with arms for Iran.
However, the attempt ended in a fiasco. By one unconfirmed account,
Mughniyeh tortured and killed Buckley with his own hands.
A year later, in a combined CIA/Mossad operation, a powerful car bomb
went off at the entrance to the house of Hizbullah's spiritual leader,
Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah. Seventy-five people were killed.
of them was his brother. Hunted by the CIA and the Mossad, Mughniyeh
In February 1992, Israeli helicopter gunships attacked the convoy of
then head of Hizbullah, Sheikh Abas Musawi, in South Lebanon. Musawi,
his wife and children were killed and the revenge attack followed a
month later. According to press reports, Mughniyeh was called back
action and, in a well-planned and devastating attack, his people blew
the Israeli embassy in Argentina. The building was demolished and 92
were killed. Only last year, after a long investigation, did Argentina
issue a warrant for Mughniyeh's arrest.
The reprisal for the attack in Argentina came in December 1994, when
car bomb went off in a southern Shi'ite suburb of Beirut. Four people
were killed. One of them was called Mughniyeh, but to the deep
disappointment of those Israelis who planted the bomb it was the wrong
one. Mughniyeh's life was saved, but his other brother Fuad was killed.
Mughniyeh waited for his opportunity for revenge.
Our Israeli sources claim to see Mughniyeh's signature on the wreckage
in New York and Washington. How to counter this kind of terrorism?
fight these bastards you don't need a military attack," said an
experienced Israeli commando officer. "You only need to adopt Israel's
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