by Yoav Limor
Mustafa Mughniyeh, the eldest son of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah's former military chief whose 2008 assassination is attributed to Israel, is orchestrating group's efforts on the Syrian Golan
Mustafa Mughniyeh, the eldest son of slain Hezbollah commander
Imad Mughniyeh, believed to be establishing terror posts in the Syrian Golan
Hezbollah is working on establishing military infrastructure in the Druze village of Khader in the Syrian Golan Heights, just across the border from Israel, it emerged this week.
The person behind the terrorist organization's military buildup in Khader is none other than Mustafa Mughniyeh, the eldest son of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah's former military chief who was assassinated in February 2008 in Damascus in an operation attributed to Israel and the CIA.
A survey of the immediate border area doesn't indicate anything out of the ordinary, but Israel has learned that Hezbollah has re-established its military presence in Khader, situated 3.5 kilometers (some 2 miles) from the Israeli border.
This effort, in its present phase, consists primarily of lookout posts and equipment that Hezbollah is providing to local residents who report back to the organization.
According to information gathered by Israel, Mustafa Mughniyeh recently held a key position in Hezbollah's arms smuggling apparatus. He is also the brother of Jihad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in January 2015 along with other senior terrorists during a tour of the Syrian Golan. The 2015 assassination was also attributed to Israel, following reports that Jihad Mughniyeh had been building up the organization's military and terrorist infrastructure in Khader – just like his older brother is reportedly doing now.
Ever since the battles between Syrian rebels and government forces in the Syrian Golan Heights ended last July, the border area has been calm. The rebels surrendered or fled, and the Syrian army now controls the area.
Russian military policemen have also deployed along the Israeli-Syrian border and the Quneitra border crossing has been reopened. For the time being, only United Nations peacekeepers are authorized to use the border crossing, and they are also returning to the positions they had vacated during the war.
Israeli officials warned recently that Hezbollah could seek to exploit the new reality to regain a foothold on the Golan Heights. According to assessments, the group intends to do this in three stages: establish a presence and gather intelligence, transfer weapons and eventually carry out terrorist attacks.
Mustafa Mughniyeh, following in the footsteps of his father and younger brother, is apparently overseeing these efforts.
Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter