Israel Denies Targeting Iranian General Killed in Syria Air Strike
In a bid to lessen rapidly escalating military tensions, an Israeli source on Tuesday said the targets of Sunday’s air strike in Syria were “relatively minor“ Hezbollah operatives, and not an Iranian general who was killed in the attack, Israel’s Ch. 2 News reported Tuesday.
Officially, Israel has not yet taken responsibility for the helicopter rocket attack on the convoy of vehicles. However, a source told Reuters news agency, “We got the alert, we spotted the vehicle, identified it was an enemy vehicle and took the shot. We saw this as a limited tactical operation.”
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) said on Tuesday that Israel should expect “ruinous thunderbolts” in response to the attack, which killed Gen. Mohammed Ali Allah Dadi, along with noted Hezbollah operative, Jihad Mughniyeh, and some 10 others.
“The Revolutionary Guards will fight to the end of the Zionist regime,” IRGC head Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari told the Iranian Fars News Agency Tuesday. “We will not rest easy until this epitome of vice is totally deleted from the region’s geopolitics.”
It is suspected that Mughniyeh, who was believed planning major attacks against Israel, including rocket strikes and terror cell infiltrations, using explosives and anti-tank missiles, “put together a serious terrorist organization, with many capabilities and was busy preparing major attacks,” one source said.
“We would rather die in the war against the Israeli enemy than to die in the war raging in Syria,” one Hezbollah member told Lebanese news media, according to Israel’s NRG News.
The Israeli government convened its security cabinet Tuesday to consider further measures, after boosting the army’s alert status along several border areas, curtailing leaves for soldiers, and deploying at least three Iron Dome anti-missile batteries, and other defensive measures, from coastal Haifa to the upper Galilee region.
Additionally, the IDF called up a number of reserve units to operate the batteries, according to the 0404 News site.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said, “We may be challenged at any point in time on any of our active fronts – in the south, the center and the north,” according to Israel Hayom.
“We are prepared, we are monitoring every development, and we are prepared to act as necessary,” Gantz said at a citations ceremony on Monday for soldiers who took part in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer.
Meanwhile, on the home front, “There’s an expectation that the residents will implement a number of simple steps to be prepared for an emergency,” Safed Mayor Ilan Shochat told The Algemeiner.
Shochat noted that both residents and city emergency and rescue services were already primed, both having prepped for a major snowstorm two weeks ago that luckily dwindled before hitting the area.
Like other municipalities across the north, Shochat convened his staff and emergency services in the wake of an IDF update to area leaders, in order to ensure clear lines of communication in case the city fell under attack from either missiles, a cross-border raid or a local terrorist attack.
While Home Front Command officials haven’t instructed northern municipalities to open public bomb shelters and safe rooms, Shochat stressed the “fluidity” of the situation along the northern borders and called on residents with private reinforced rooms to “make sure they are accessible, cleared of debris, have a supply of bottled water and canned provisions on hand; all of the preparations we dealt with during the Second Lebanon War,” in 2006 with Hezbollah.
Safed and environs, which are located on several hills about ten miles south of the Lebanese border, were hammered by several hundred Katyusha rockets during the 34-day conflict.
Shochat suggested parents talk with younger children, to mentally prepare them for the possibility of having to use the protected areas.
“When and if something happens, those few seconds can be critical,” he concluded.