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      Hizbullah, Israel Forces on Alert for New War

      Israel has issued a worldwide alert, fearing reprisal by Hizbullah after its deputy was assassinated. Hizbullah is on high alert, fearing Israel.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 2/16/2008, 10:13 PM

      The assassination last week of the Hizbullah terrorist group’s chief operations officer prompted Israel to declare high alert status at its embassies and elsewhere. This weekend, the terrorist group also went on high alert in fear of action by the Jewish State.

      Hizbullah, Iran, Syria and every Arab terrorist group accused Israeli agents of killing Imad Mughniyeh, the terrorist who planned every attack carried out by Hizbullah terrorists around the world. Jerusalem denied the charge.

      According to a report published Saturday in the Lebanese newspaper A-Safir, 50,000 Hizbullah terrorists have been stationed along the border with Israel, and a high alert was declared in southern Lebanon.

      Hizbullah also evacuated most of its offices and buildings used for civilian purposes, reported A-Safir, fearing “Israeli aggression” in the wake of the assassination.

      Various Palestinian Authority terrorist organizations have also gone on high alert status, reported the Hizbullah-linked newspaper Al-Akhbar.

      Israel issued a worldwide high alert warning to its embassies and elsewhere around the world after Mughniyeh’s boss, chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah, threatened while eulogizing his top deputy that Israel could now expect “an open war.” However, Nasrallah made his threat through a video hookup; he himself has been in hiding since the end of the Second Lebanon War.

      Intelligence officials said it was unlikely that Hizbullah would strike directly at Israel, noting that it was not in the organization’s best interest to risk another war with the Jewish State while Lebanese politics are still unstable. Presidential elections have been put off repeatedly as the Syrian-backed Hizbullah ministers struggle with the Western-backed government for control of the country.

      Nonetheless, the IDF is on alert to spot any attempts by terrorists to infiltrate through Israel’s northern border.

      In addition, the US embassy in Lebanon has placed its personal on high alert as well, warning staff members not to use their cellular phones and to exercise extreme caution.  American citizens were told to maintain constant contact with the embassy.

      “Hizbullah has repeatedly blamed Israel for the death of Imad Mughniyeh, thus increasing the danger of its terrorist threats against Israeli targets abroad,” warned the Israeli National Security Council Counter-terrorism Bureau.

      Israelis abroad were instructed to avoid their usual gathering places and the bureau reiterated its warnings that terrorists are hoping to kidnap Israelis abroad, including business people, “mainly those with ties with Arab or Muslim counterparts.”

      Other high-profile potential Jewish targets, not necessarily Israeli, were also placed on alert including synagogues, Jewish community centers and offices of Jewish organizations.

      Egyptian Researcher: Assassination was Staged
      Egyptian researcher Majdi Kamal, who recently published a book on senior Hizbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, has announced that he believes Mughniyeh’s death was staged.  Mughniyeh evaded 42 security services in nations worldwide, Kamal pointed out and expressed the belief that it was not logical that Mughniyeh would be killed by something as simple as a car bomb.

      “Mughniyeh either died a natural death a while ago, or is still alive,” Kamal told Al-Arabiya television.  He pointed out that Mughniyeh was reported dead just one day before the three-year anniversary of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, an outspoken opponent of Syrian intervention in Lebanon. 

      Whether Hizbullah faked the death in order to throw intelligence agencies off of Mughniyeh’s trail or Mughniyeh actually died, Hizbullah chose the timing of the “assassination” in order to ruin Hariri’s memorial ceremonies, Kamal contended.

      Syrian Arrests Suspects in Killing
      According to a report published Friday in al-Akhbar, several Arabs living in Syria were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assassination.

      Investigators from Iran as well as Hizbullah were working together with Syrian security forces in the probe, said the report.

      There was no information on how many people had been arrested.

      Maayana Miskin contributed to this report.