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Syria says spy helped Israel kill Hezbollah chief

Sept. 18, 2011 9:33 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2011 10:27 A.M.)
BEIRUT (Reuters) -- Syria broadcast on Saturday what it said was the confession of a Jordanian-Palestinian man who gave Israel information leading to the assassination of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus three years ago.

The man, who identified himself as 35-year-old Eyad Youssef Enaim, said he was recruited by Israel in 2006 after a visit to the West Bank town of Hebron. He said he was sent to Damascus by his Israeli handlers in February 2008 and gave them details of Mughniyeh's car hours before it was blown up on Feb. 12.

"I gave them the number of the car," Enaim said in an interview broadcast by state television.

The channel said Enaim's comments showed the extent of foreign plots against Syria, facing six months of protests against President Bashar al-Assad which authorities say have also been backed by outside powers.

Israel denied involvement in killing Mughniyeh, who was on the United States' most wanted list.

Mughniyeh was implicated in the 1983 bombings of the US embassy and US Marine and French peacekeeping barracks in Beirut, which killed more than 350 people, and the kidnapping of Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Israel accused him of planning the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and involvement in a 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in the Argentine capital that killed 28.

Enaim, who was based in the coastal city of Latakia, said he was sent to Damascus three times in early February. On the first two visits he was asked to explore a district near the Iranian and Canadian embassies for signs of Hezbollah or Hamas offices.

On his third trip, on Feb. 12, he was sent to a side street where he saw a silver Pajero car. When it drove away the Israeli intelligence officers told him to find out where it was going. He refused, but gave them its number.

Enaim said he returned to Latakia and realized when he saw pictures of Mughniyeh's bombed car that it was the same one he had seen in the Damascus side street on the day of the attack.

He continued to supply information to Israel, mainly about shipments at Syria's Mediterranean ports of Tartus and Latakia, until he was arrested. He did not say when he was detained or how Syrian authorities found out about his alleged espionage.

Hezbollah accused Israel of Mughniyeh's killing and promised revenge. Syria also hinted at the time it believed Israel was responsible, although Israel denied it.
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