UK Media Watch prompts Indy correction to Imad Mughniyeh assassination claim

It was widely reported in early 2015 that Mughniyeh - widely believed responsible for attacks on Israeli and American targets, including the deadly 1983 attack on the US Embassy in Beirut - was killed in an operation jointly carried out by both US and Israeli intelligence agencies

A May 15th op-ed by Robert Fisk at the Independent on the recent killing in Syria of Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine included this claim about the killing of another Hezbollah terror operative, Imad Mougnieh (Badreddine’s brother-in-law) in 2008.

One of Nasrallah’s most trusted officers – Iran’s too, since he organized the kidnapping of western captives in Lebanon in the late 1980s – was Imad Mougnieh, blown to pieces by a car bomb outside a shopping mall in Damascus in 2008 (almost certainly, this time, an Israeli assassination)…

Additionally, a May 13th article in the Independent by their defense editor Kim Sengupta also included the claim that Mughniyeh was assassinated in a Mossad operation. 

Badreddine was the most senior Hezbollah commander killed since his predecessor and brother-in-law Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in a Mossad operation in Damascus in 2008….

However, it was widely reported in early 2015 that Mughniyeh – widely believed responsible for attacks on Israeli and American targets, including the deadly 1983 attack on the US Embassy in Beirut – was killed in an operation jointly carried out by both US and Israeli intelligence agencies.

Here are a few passages from a story published in Politico Magazine around the time the revelations concerning US involvement were first circulated.

The CIA doesn’t assassinate often anymore, so when it does the agency picks its targets carefully. The story uncovered last weekend by the Washington Post and Newsweek the CIA’s reported role in the February 2008 assassination of Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mughniyeh is the stuff of a Hollywood spy thriller

A team of CIA spotters in Damascus tracking a Hezbollah terrorist wanted for decades; a custom-made explosive shaped to kill only the target and placed in the spare tire of an SUV parked along the target’s route home; intelligence gathered by Israelis, paired with a bomb built and tested in North Carolina, taking out a man responsible for the deaths of more Americans than anyone else until 9/11.

We contacted editors at the Indy and pointed out the error.

They agreed to correct the article by Sengupta, and the passage in question now notes that Mughniyeh “was assassinated in a Mossad and CIA operation”.

Though the same claim by Robert Fisk was not corrected, we’ve asked editors to pass along our information so that future op-eds or reports by the “award-winning” Middle East analyst will not include this erroneous claim. 

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