Jihad Mughniyeh Assassination Halted Hezbollah, Iran Attempt to Establish Terror Infrastructure on Syria Border
Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon spoke on Wednesday about the aerial assassination of senior Hezbollah operatives and IRGC generals last January on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border, and how that attack was fundamental to foiling Iran and Hezbollah’s attempt to set up a terror infrastructure in the area.
Among those killed was Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s deceased terrorist mastermind who was assassinated in Damascus, reportedly in a joint operation of Mossad and the CIA.
Israel’s Maariv reported that a year before his assassination, Jihad was appointed by Hezbollah as a commander of a special united designed to carry out secret operations against Israel in the Golan Heights. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi, the senior commander in the IRGC killed in the strike, served as the unit’s “mentor.”
The decision to establish the unit was made jointly between Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ external operations arm, the Quds Force, and Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, who both personally supervised its progress, according to Maariv.
The unit’s initial goal was to establish an infrastructure on the Syrian side of the border in order to carry out future operations against Israel, and in effect to open up a “second front” against the Jewish State, in addition to the one in south Lebanon.
The unit trained extensively for incursions and raids in Israel, both against military targets and against civilian communities in the Golan Heights.
One of the other individuals involved in the unit was the infamous Samir Quntar, a Lebanese-Druze who was imprisoned in Israel for many years for the murder of members of the Haran family in Nahariya, including the family’s four year old daughter, Einat.
Quntar was released in 2008 in a prisoner exchange deal, and upon his return to Lebanon, he joined Hezbollah. As part of his role in this unit, Quntar was responsible for firing rockets from Syria into Israel’s side of the Golan Heights while the IDF was battling in Gaza during last summer’s “Operation Protective Edge.” The rockets caused no casualties or damage.
After the assassination of the younger Mughniyeh and his associates, the unit was paralyzed and it is unknown at this time whether Hezbollah and Iran are attempting to restore the unit or rebuild it.
The January 19th assassination has been widely attributed to Israel, though the Jewish State has neither taken responsibility for the action nor accepted it.