WASHINGTON: The Central Intelligence Agency helped Israels intelligence service, Mossad, to assassinate Imad Mughniyah, a high-ranking Hezbollah figure, on Feb. 12, 2008, a report says.
During an operation aided by the CIA, Mossad remotely detonated a bomb planted in the spare tire of a parked SUV in the Syrian capital of Damascus killing Mughniyah who was walking toward the vehicle.
According to a former US intelligence official, the CIA had been tracking Mughniyahs movements prior to the operation and also helped build the bomb.
The way it was set up, the US could object and call it off, but it could not execute, The Washington Post quoted the anonymous official as saying.
According to the official, the US had tested the bomb repeatedly at a CIA facility in North Carolina to assess the potential blast area and insure it would not result in collateral damage.
We probably blew up 25 bombs to make sure we got it right, the intelligence official said.
The official also said that it was rigorous and tedious to gain the authority to assassinate Mughniyah and that they had to have absolute confirmation that it was self-defense.
The operation was finally approved by the attorney general, director of national intelligence, national security adviser and the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, another former official said.
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