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BEIRUT, Lebanon - Imad Mughniyeh, the suspected mastermind of dramatic attacks on the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks that killed hundreds of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, has died in a car bombing in Syria.

ADVERTISEMENT The Islamic militant group Hezbollah and its Iranian backers on Wednesday blamed Israel for the killing of Mughniyeh, Hezbollah's security chief in the 1980s who was one of the world's most wanted and elusive terrorists. Israel denied involvement.

Hezbollah did not say how or where Mughniyeh was killed. But Iranian state television and the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said he died in a car bombing in the Syrian capital Damascus on Tuesday night.

Hezbollah's announcement of the death came a few hours after a late night explosion in Damascus destroyed a vehicle. Witnesses in the Syrian capital said at the time that a passerby was killed as security forces sealed off the area and removed the body. But authorities there would not give details.

"With all pride, we declare a great jihadist leader of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon joining the martyrs," said a statement carried on Hezbollah television. "The brother commander hajj Imad Mughinyeh became a martyr at the hands of the Zionist Israelis."

Mughniyeh, 45, had been in hiding for years. He was one of the fugitives indicted in the United States for planning and participating in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed. He is on an FBI most wanted list with a $5 million bounty on his head for that indictment.

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TOPIC: Pay backs are a Bitch
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