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Imad Mughniyeh levde tilbaktrukket de 15 siste årene. Den 12. februar ble han drept av en bombe plassert i hodestøtten på bilen han brukte. Mighniyeh bodde i Damaskus. Det er allment kjent at han sto bak flere spektakulære terrorangrep på 80-tallet. Men siden hans død har Hizbollah hyllet ham opp i skyene. De forteller at det er han som var hjernen bak krigen med Israel sommeren 2006. Måten de ordlegger seg på tyder på at Mughniyeh og Hizbollah hadde planlagt å provosere frem en krig. Det kan minne om taktikken bak rakettangrepene fra Gaza, som bare øker i stryke, til tross for hard israelsk gjengjeldelse. Man kan få mistanke om at Hamas og Islamsk Jihad ønsker en eksalering, helt uten hensyn til egen befolkning. Tapene er innkalkulert og brukes til å anklage Israel.

«Hezbollah’s top architect of that war was Imad Mughniyeh,» Anis Naccache, a 57-year-old longtime associate, told The Associated Press. «You can say he was like a staff general (chief of staff).»
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The war ended without Israel winning any of its main objectives — regaining the two soldiers and crushing Hezbollah — and its army chief and other top commanders were forced to resign.

The fighting also held numerous surprises for the Israeli military — particularly the guerrillas’ sophisticated rockets and anti-tank weapons and their extensive preparations for battle.

Command and weapons-arsenal bunkers were dug deep into rocky hills around south Lebanon with a network of tunnels linking large storage rooms. Some exits were equipped with cameras and linked to a monitor below to help fighters ambush enemy soldiers.

Mughniyeh was apparently behind those tactics.

Naccache said the general strategy of fighting «a war of shadows» was Mughniyeh’s decision. «We were fighting Israel but Israel cannot see any fighter,» he said, speaking in English.

A Hezbollah guerrilla who was on the front lines in southern Lebanon during the 2006 fighting told AP that Mughniyeh was his commander. The guerrilla, who would identify himself only by his first name, Hassan, for fear of reprisals, would not elaborate.

Naccache, a Lebanese who once was a fighter for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction and has known Mughniyeh since Mughniyeh was 13, said the two met dozens of times over recent years.

The last time was in Lebanon two months before the 2006 war. During that meeting, Naccache said, Mughniyeh showed him photographs of anti-tank rockets that Hezbollah had recently obtained, the Russian-made Kornet and the RPG-29.

He said Mughniyeh explained to him how the rockets could be used against Merkavas, the massively armored tanks that are vaunted as symbols of Israeli military might.

Naccache said Mughniyeh «had studied the exact millimeters of the thickness of a Merkava and what was the best point from which to hit the Merkava.»

«I understood how serious he was in his preparation for the war,» Naccache said. Mughniyeh did not tell him where Hezbollah obtained the weapons, he said. Iran is believed to be Hezbollah’s main arms supplier, with some coming from Syria.

Slain militant was organizer in 2006 war