Mustafa Mughniyeh

Iranian-born Mustafa Mughniyeh is a U.S.-designated Hezbollah commander based in Lebanon. He previously oversaw Hezbollah’s operations in the Golan Heights, where he helped organize the group’s “infrastructure,” according to the U.S. Department of State.“State Department Terrorist Designations of Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh,” U.S. Department of State, January 9, 2017, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/01/266729.htm. Mughniyeh was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 on January 9, 2016, alongside fellow Hezbollah operative Ali Damush.“State Department Terrorist Designations of Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh,” U.S. Department of State, January 9, 2017, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/01/266729.htm.

Mughniyeh has extensive family ties to Hezbollah. He is the nephew of Mustafa Badreddine, the late Hezbollah military commander who oversaw the group’s external operations—including the launching of attacks on Israel from the West Bank and Gaza, and attacking Sunni forces in Iraq. Badreddine is believed to have been targeted and killed in a January 2015 Israeli airstrike on Hezbollah members in Syria.U.S. Department of State, “State Department Terrorist Designations of Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh,” January 9, 2017, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/01/266729.htm;
Ronen Bergman, “The Hezbollah Connection,” New York Times, February 10, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/the-hezbollah-connection.html?_r=0.

Mughniyeh is the son of late Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh who, according to the Associated Press, was killed in a 2008 car bombing in Damascus attributed to Israel. Mustafa Mughniyeh’s brother was believed to be Jihad Mughniyeh, who was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Quneitra, Syria, in 2015. At the time, Jihad Mughniyeh was reportedly Hezbollah’s commander in the Syrian Golan Heights.U.S. Department of State, “State Department Terrorist Designations of Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh,” January 9, 2017, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/01/266729.htm;
Associated Press, “US adds 2 members of Hezbollah to terrorism list,” Ynet News, January 10, 2017, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4905498,00.html.

On April 15, 2020, a vehicle carrying Mughniyeh and other passengers—identified as Hezbollah members—was targeted in an airstrike attributed to Israel. The first missile reportedly struck the ground near the vehicle, while the four men were driving through the Syrian town of Jdeidat Yabous toward the Lebanese border. Mughnieyh and the others abandoned the vehicle, which was then destroyed by a second missile strike. All four passengers survive the airstrike. It is unclear if the first missile accidentally missed its target, or if it was an intentional warning to force the occupants out of the vehicle before destroying it.Judah Ari Gross, “Man Who Escaped Strike on Car in Syria Named as Slain Hezbollah Leader’s Son,” Times of Israel, April 16, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/man-who-escaped-strike-on-car-in-syria-named-as-slain-hezbollah-leaders-son/.

United States

The U.S. State Department designated “Mustafa Mughniyeh” as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13324 on January 9, 2017.“State Department Terrorist Designations of Ali Damush and Mustafa Mughniyeh,” U.S. Department of State, January 9, 2017, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/01/266729.htm.

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