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The man believed to have planned the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks and kidnappings of Westerners in Lebanon sent an agent to Israel recently to carry out a terrorist attack, a senior Israeli official said Sunday.

Imad Mughniyeh, a one-time security chief of the Iran-backed Hezbollah guerrillas, is also believed by Israel to have been involved in planning the 1992 bombing of Israel's embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were killed and the blast at a Buenos Aires Jewish center two years later that killed 95.The senior official said Mughniyeh was believed to be in Lebanon or possibly Iran. He has not been seen in public since 1994.

"We are sure. We are quite sure," he said when asked if Israel had firm information that Mughniyeh was behind a recent bombing plot.

Prime Minister Shimon Peres has accused Islamic extremists and Iran in particular of trying to kill the peace process and topple his government, which is facing elections May 29.

"There is a clear intervention on the part of terrorist organizations, Iran and the (Islamic) fundamentalists," Peres said Sunday in Rishon Letzion. They "want to stop the peace process by using bombs and terrorism . . . to create the impression that you cannot trust the Arab side."