Imad Mughniyeh alleged to have found traces of Ron Arad
Commemorating the anniversary of his assassination, Lebanese media sources claimed that the late Hezbollah leader dedicated himself to tracing the missing Israeli pilot in the 2004-2006 period. A crew under his command supposedly found items used by Arad, which were to be used in prisoner exchange negotiations.
One of the broadcasts features an interview with senior Hezbollah member Wafiq Safa, director of the organization's liaison and coordination committee. He claimed Mughniyeh paid much attention to the issue of Ron Arad, because he realized the potential of solving the mystery in terms of releasing prisoners.
Mughniyeh set up a special team in 2004-2006, and was able to find some of Arad's belongings, including a parachute, his weapon, and some clothes. According to Safa, Hezbollah used these items in negotioations with Israel.
Mughniyeh's assassination, Safa claimed, caused a several-month delay in the 2008 prisoner deal in which Hezbollah returned the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser to Israel in exchange for hundreds of bodies of Hezbollah terrorists and five living prisoners, including Samir Kuntar.
Mughniyeh, who's role was defined as leader of Hezbollah's military wing, was killed in Damascus by an explosive device hidden in his car in 2008. On Tuesday, the organization is expected to conduct a ceremony commemorating his death and the deaths of other senior Hezbollah figures, such as former secretary-general Abbas al-Musawi and Ragheb Harb, in Beirut's southern suburb. Hasan Nasrallah is expected to give a speech at the event.