Tehran, 1 Rabi’ul Akhir 1436/22 January, 2015 (MINA) – A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander says the Israeli regime will be punished for killing one of its generals in an air strike in Syria that also killed six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
Nasser Soltani said “Israel will certainly pay for what it did”, during a ceremony on Wednesday for Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, who will be buried in his hometown of Sirjan in southeastern Iran on Thursday.
Soltani is quoted by the state TV as saying Allahdadi was “martyred while performing his advisory mission” in Syria, Gulfnews quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Iran and Hezbollah, who are allied with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s forces, blamed Israel for Sunday’s air strike in the Golan Heights.
Israel, which is believed to be behind a number of air strikes in Syria in recent years, has neither confirmed nor denied involvement publicly.
Meanwhile, a senior security source said on Tuesday that the Iranian general killed in the air strike in Syria was not Israel’s intended target, and Israel believed it was attacking only low-ranking guerrillas,.
The remarks by the Israeli source, who declined to be identified because the regime has not officially confirmed it carried out the strike, appeared aimed at containing any escalation with Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammad Allahdadi was killed along with a Hezbollah commander and the son of the group’s late military leader, Emad Moughniyeh, in Sunday’s attack on a Hezbollah convoy near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and fought a 34-day war with the Israeli regime in 2006, said six of its members died in the strike.
Tehran has vowed to strike back. “These martyrdoms proved the need to stick with jihad. The Zionists must await ruinous thunderbolts,” Revolutionary Guards’ chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted on Tuesday as saying by the Fars news agency.
Asked if Israel expected Iranian or Hezbollah retaliation, the source said: “They are almost certain to respond. We are anticipating that, but I think it’s a fair assumption that a major escalation is not in the interest of either side.” Troops and civilians in northern Israel are on heightened alert and Israel has deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor unit near the Syrian frontier.
“We did not expect the outcome in terms of the stature of those killed — certainly not the Iranian general,” the source said. “We thought we were hitting an enemy field unit that was on its way to carry out an attack on us at the frontier fence.
“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.” In an Israeli television interview, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon stopped short of claiming responsibility for Sunday’s air strike while describing those killed as “bad guys, all of them”.
“We are not fearing, but nevertheless we should be ready for, any act or any action and even for any escalation,” Yaalon told the English-language station i24 News.
The Israeli regime has struck inside Syria several times since the start of the Syrian civil war, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for Hezbollah, Israel’s longtime foe in neighbouring Lebanon.
Hezbollah has been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces in the four-year-old Syrian conflict.(T/P009/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)