Up to 11 Killed in Reported Israeli Strike on Convoy of Hezbollah, Iranian Commanders in Syria
An Israeli airstrike in Syria today killed several senior Hezbollah and Iranian military commanders traveling in a convoy in the Golan Heights bordering the Jewish state, according to local media reports. The alleged strike comes just days after the terror group’s leader threatened attacks deep inside Israeli territory.
Initial reports indicated that five were killed in the strike, while one Turkish media outlet said that as many as 11 were killed including five Hezbollah members and six Iranians.
Among those killed according to the reports is Jihad Mughniyeh, a senior Hezbollah commander in charge of organizing potential attacks on Israel out of the Golan Heights. His father, Imad Mughniyah, another well known terrorist was assassinated in 2008. Lebanese media also reported that Hezbollah field commander Mohammad Issa who goes by the nom de guerre “Abu Issa” was also killed.
Another senior figure named as a casualty is Abu Ali Tabtabai, who may have been the head of Hezbollah operations in all of Syria.
While Lebanese media reported that the strike, which destroyed one vehicle and damaged another, was carried out by helicopters, later reports indicated that jets may have been involved.
Israeli officials declined to formally comment on the reports, but one unnamed official speaking to AFP confirmed the attack and said that the raid targeted terrorists planning attacks against Israel, YNet News reported.
YNet said that a reporter from Hezbollah’s journal al-Akhbar wrote on his Twitter page that “the Hezbollah leadership is the one that will decide how to respond to the recent Israeli aggression, however this blow is uncontainable.”
Lebanon’s Daily Star reported that Hezbollah issued a statement confirming the strike saying “a number of mujahedeens were martyred,” during an inspection mission in the Syrian town of Quneitra. The Hezbollah statement added that the names of the fighters will be divulged later, once the families of the dead have been notified.
In an extensive interview earlier this week, Hezbollah chief Nasrallah committed to invading Israeli territory in the Galilee, an area adjacent to the Golan.
“Hezbollah is prepared for military intervention in Israel’s Galilee and beyond, deeper into Israeli territory,” he said in an interview with Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV to be aired Thursday evening. “We have made all necessary preparations for a future war with Israel.”
“We have military abilities that will deliver us the victory against Israel,” he threatened. “The military capability of the resistance has not been damaged, and if Israel thinks differently, it is wrong.”
Although Israel’s position on the conflict in Syria has remained publicly neutral, officials have insisted that Israel will take steps to halt the flow of advanced weaponry to terror groups camped on its borders. Since the start of the bloody civil war in the country, Israel has been credited with a number of airstrikes on military convoys and storage depots, one as recent as December. Israel has routinely declined to confirm the reports.