PMO Denies Israeli Role in Imad Mughniyah's Death

Danny Yatom: Mughniyah was cruel, dangerous; Ezra: Bless those responsible; U.S. applauds attack.

The United States on Wednesday applauded the killing of Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Imad Mughniyah in a car bomb in Damascus, and called him a cold-blooded murderer responsible for many deaths.

"The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a cold-blooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "One way or another he was brought to justice."

McCormack said he did not know who was responsible for the killing of Mughniyah, who was on the U.S. most-wanted list for attacks on Israeli and Western targets.

Hezbollah accused Israel of assassinating Mughniyah but Israel denied involvement in Tuesday's car bomb attack.

"You can just go down the list of other nationalities that were affected by his acts of terror ... The list goes on and on and on," McCormack said.

Earlier Wednesday, the Prime Minister's Office denied any Israeli role in Mughniyah's assassination.

"Israel rejects the attempt by terror groups to attribute to it any involvement in this incident," said the PMO in a statement. "We have nothing further to add."

Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom on Wednesday welcomed Mughniyah's death, calling it "a great achievement for the free world in its fight on terror."

"Mughniyah was one of the most dangerous and cruel terrorists of all time," said the Labor MK. "There are numerous intelligence agencies and countries that have been pursuing him, and the one that was successful in reaching him [has proven itself] - to have a high intelligence and operational capability."

Yatom called Mughniyah's death a serious blow to Hezbollah, both in terms of morale and in terms of its operational capabilities, saying the assassination could only have been made possible by penetrating deep into the organization.

"Whoever can take him out can take out anyone in Hezbollah," he said. "It will take Hezbollah a long time to find an heir."

"Mughniyah was responsible for the deaths of many Jews, Israelis, Americans, and was solely and directly responsible for Hezbollah attacks abroad, through close cooperation with Iran," he said.

Environment Minister Gideon Ezra, formerly a senior intelligence officer, also hailed the killing of the top Hezbollah commander. "I, of course, do not know who carried out the assassination of Imad, but he should be blessed," he said.

Hamas slammed the assassination. "We condemn this crime and we emphasize the Muslim nation must rise up to confront the Zionist devil which is back by the Americans," said a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Samir Abu Zuhri.