Master terrorist Imad Mughniyeh's son, Jihad Mughniyeh, was himself planning deadly terrorist attacks against Israel, Western intelligence sources said Sunday.
"He was a man who stood at the head of a wide-scale terrorist infrastructure with direct sponsorship from Iran and direct connection to Hezbollah, which has already been acting against Israel in the Golan Heights," the sources said.
Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh – Hezbollah's head of operations until his assassination in February 2008 – was appointed as the group's commander in the Syrian Golan sector last October. He was killed Sunday in an attack, attributed to Israel, in the Syrian Golan, along with a number of other Hezbollah fighters.
"Jihad Mughniyeh was already planning, and had prepared, more major murderous attacks against Israel in the Golan Heights. These attacks include rocket fire, infiltrations, explosive devices, anti-tank missile fire, ect., with the goal of killing soldiers, hitting Israeli communities in the Golan Heights and killing Israeli civilians."
The sources went on to describe the younger Mughniyeh as "an uninhibited terrorist, who built a murderous terror organization aided by Iran and Hezbollah, a terror organization with capabilities, and was busy preparing significant attacks."
Close ties to Nasrallah and Iran
Jihad Mughniyeh is one of the most prominent Hezbollah officials to die in Syria since the group entered the fray in 2012, fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces against the Sunni-led rebellion.
Officials close to Hezbollah said Jihad Mughniyeh, who was estimated to be around 25, was active in the group from a young age. He was a Hezbollah student activist at the Lebanese American University, and took on a more prominent role after the death of his father.
He was close to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nassrallah, his father's replacement Mustafa Badr Al Din, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He once said: "We swore never to put down our guns until victory is achieved."
Since his father's death, Mughniyeh appeared at memorial events held by Hezbollah. In 2013, he was seen together with the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, in a visit to Iran he made to express his condolences for the death of Soleimani's mother.
Jihad Mughniyeh's uncle, who shares the same name, died at a young age and is considered a martyr by the family. Imad Mughniyeh's brother died in unknown circumstances. The three brothers' mother said prior to her son Imad's burial: "I wish I had more sons, so they could continue the way."
Jihad was killed at the age of 18, unmarried and with no children, while Fuad left three children," she said. "Imad is also the father of three children – two boys and a girl."
Until his assassination, Imad was considered by some intelligence circles to be the second most-wanted individual in the world, after Osama bin-Laden. Time and again, he popped up in different locations around the world, only to disappear again.
The United States placed a $25 million bounty on the head of the arch-terrorist, who was believed to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds. He stood behind terror attacks against Israel in various periods, as well as the 1983 US Embassy bombin in Beirut, the Beirut barracks bombing that year that killed more than 300, and the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.