February 13, 2008 / 2:21 PM / 11 years ago

Iran accuses Israel of Hezbollah leader's killing

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran blamed its arch foe Israel on Wednesday for the killing of Hezbollah leader Imad Moughniyah in Damascus and condemned it as an act of “state terrorism”, the official IRNA news agency said.

Israel has denied any involvement in the killing, seen as a major setback to Syrian and Iranian-backed Hezbollah that fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006.

Moughniyah, 45, was killed late on Tuesday. He had been on a list of foreigners Israel wanted to kill or apprehend and the United States had offered a $5 million reward for his capture.

“This measure is the result and another prominent example of organized state terrorism by the Zionist regime (Israel),” IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini as saying.

Hezbollah, backed by Shi’ite Muslim Iran, also accused Israel of assassinating Moughniyah, who was head of the Hezbollah security network during Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, by planting a bomb in his car.

Hosseini called on the international community to condemn the killing and prevent Israel from “undertaking similar measures which are in direct contravention of international rules and regulations”, IRNA said.

He praised Moughniyah, saying his life would constitute “a golden page in the popular struggle against Zionist aggressors and occupiers”.

Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Alison Williams

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