Iran Vows Revenge For Killing Of Revolutionary Guards General In Israeli Airstrike In Syria Over Weekend
What Was An Iranian Revolutionary Guards General Doing In Southern Lebanon With Hezbollah Operatives?
Iran confirmed that over the weekend, a Revolutionary Guards general officer was killed in Syria, along with five other Hezbollah operatives as a result of an Israeli airstrike. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, told local Iran news media that the Israeli helicopter attack “was an act of terror,” and issued a strong condemnation. The Times of Israel is reporting that “Iranian officials are threatening retaliation, as Iran’s Supreme Leader highlighted his personal connection with Jihad Mughniyeh,” a Hezbollah commander and operative, who was killed in this weekend’s airstrike in Syria. Jiha,d is the son of Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in a car bomb in Syria in 2008 — purportedly by Israeli operatives. Imad Mugniyeh was known as “The Prince of Darkness,” in the West and was linked to many of the most devastating terrorist acts in the late 20th century — including the Marine Barracks Bombing in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983; and, the downing of Pam Am Flight 103 in 1998 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Also killed in the strike was Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander and General Mohamed Allahidadi, “who as on assignment giving “crucial advice” to the Syrian armed forces battling insurgents,” according to Iran’s Foreign Minister. “At the time of the attack, General Mohamed Allahdadi, According to a source of Agency France Presse (AFP), five other Iranians were also killed in the strike. All were traveling in a vehicle convoy en route to Syria from Lebanon. Citing anonymous sources, various Israeli media outlets reported that Israeli officials believed Hezbollah was planning an attack on Israeli’s living near the Golan Heights.
An Israeli Security source told the Reuters News Agency, that “the Iranian general killed in Sunday’s strike — was not the intended target of the strike;” and, according to this same source — “Israel believed it was targeting low-level Iranian officials.” Hezbollah officials vowed revenge Monday.
Retired Israeli Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven, said in a conference call with international journalists on Monday, that “the presence of such a high-ranking Iranian [military] figure, alongside Hezbollah figures near the Golan Heights, suggested “they may have been planning an operation against Israel — at a high level.”
“For Hezbollah leaders, rank and file, and core supporters, the attack against Jihad Mughniyeh is akin to an attack against a member of their own family,” said Randa Slim, Director at the Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Middle East Institute. “The fact that Hezbollah has not avenged Imad Mughniyeh’s death-to-date, raises the bar for Nasrallah (the Hezbollah leader), and the Hezbollah military leadership to react in a big way this time…irrespective of the risks of escalation,” said.
Certainly, the presence of an Iranian general and Revolutionary Guards commander in southern Lebanon; and, meeting with high-level Hezbollah operatives has got to be unnerving to Tel Aviv. This clearly was not a routine meeting and Israel may well have stopped — at least temporarily — a major Hezbollah operation along Israel’s border. Hezbollah, no doubt with the ‘hidden hand’ of Tehran, will retaliate for this incident. V/R, RCP