Defense establishment on high alert on anniversary of Imad Mugniyah's assassination: The Israel Defense Forces on Thursday continued its heightened state of alert declared several days ago, particularly on the northern border, in a bid to thwart any attempt by Hizbullah to launch a revenge attack against Israel in response to the assassination of its senior commander exactly one year ago.
According to estimates in the defense establishment, however, the organization may also act on a later date. Israel officially denied any involvement in the assassination of Imad Mugniyah, who was killed in a blast in his car in the Syrian capital of Damascus on February 2008.
As Israel prepares for a possible terror attack on its northern border, the heightened state of alert continues worldwide for fear of an attempt to attack Israeli targets abroad, according to security sources. Several moves have been taken in recent weeks in a bid to thwart and disrupt attempts by terror attacks to carry out such an attack against a European target.
"Hizbullah views Israel as responsible for Mugniyah's assassination and has vowed to avenge his death," a security source said. "All the relevant elements have been prepared accordingly for a long time now. This alertness will continue in the future as well according to evaluations of the situation."
The Israeli security forces recently completed a comprehensive preparation for the possibility of a revenge attack by Hizbullah. Alongside the severe travel advisory issued ahead of the anniversary of Mugniyah's assassination, the security around senior Israeli officials has been tightened.
As reported by Ynet, the Ministerial Committee on Shin Bet Affairs recently decided to step up the security abroad of four Knesset members with security-related background. The MKs in question include former Defense Minister Amir Peretz (Labor), former Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), Chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima), and MK Isaac Ben-Israel (Kadima).
Despite the preparations, the security sources noted that Hizbullah feared an Israeli response to any development, particularly on the northern border, and that would cause the organization leaders to think twice before acting against Israel.