Israelis on alert as Hizballah declares war

Thursday, February 14, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israel's government issued a global terror alert for its citizens on Thursday after leaders of the Lebanese Hizballah terrorist militia announced they would use this week's assassination of one of their group's top deputy to justify open warfare against Israelis and Israeli interests.

In particular, Israeli embassies were placed on high alert, and Israelis traveling abroad were warned to be vigilant against abduction attempts.

The alert was issued after overall Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah delivered a fiery speech to tens of thousands of Lebanese attending the Beirut funeral of leading Hizballah terrorist commander Imad Mughniyah. In his address, Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind the Damascus car bombing that killed Mughniyah on Tuesday night, and all but declared war against the Jewish state in response.

Israel has denied involvement in the assassination of Mughniyah, who in addition to topping Israel's most-wanted list, also had an American bounty on his head.

Meanwhile, a senior researcher with Israel's Institute for Counter-Terrorim told Ynet that the choice of Damascus as the location to kill Mughniyah by whoever carried out the hit was not coincidental.

Moshe Marzouk explained that carrying out the assassination in the Syrian capital sent a strong message to the regime of Bashar Assad, which continues to harbor and support groups like Hizballah and various Palestinian terrorist organizations.

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