Report: Israel knew about presence of Iranian general in Syria strike

Senior security source previously said Iranian general was not the intended target of air strike as it believed that only low-ranking guerrillas were targeted.

January 22, 2015 22:14
1 minute read.
Jihad Mughniyeh stands in front of photo of his slain father, Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh

Jihad Mughniyeh stands in front of photo of his slain father, Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh. (photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)

Israel was aware that a convoy that was attacked in Syria contained an Iranian general, contradicting an earlier report that Israel did not know of his presence, an Arab newspaper alleged on Thursday.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Muhammad Allahdadi was killed along with Muhammad Issa, a Hezbollah commander, in Sunday’s attack on a convoy in Syrian- controlled Golan Heights.

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According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, Israel knew about the presence of the Iranian general, who arrived in Syria late last year, as he was the main target of the operation, not the son of the group’s late military leader, Imad Mughniyeh, Jihad Mughniyeh, who was also killed.

Allahdadi visited the area near Israel’s border to gather Hezbollah’s military needs and supervise operations in the country. Issa had sought to fortify the Syrian front against Israel similar to what Hezbollah had done in southern Lebanon, said the report.

Allahdadi left Damascus more than an hour-and-a-half before the attack, something that Israel likely was tracking by monitoring his communications, according to the report.

Iran is unlikely to respond against Israel directly for the attack because it occurred in Syria but would take revenge at a time of its choosing and continue supporting Hezbollah.

The Iranian general was not the intended target of the Israeli air strike as it believed it was attacking only low-ranking guerrillas, a senior security source said on Tuesday.

The remarks by the Israeli source, who declined to be identified because Jerusalem has not officially confirmed it carried out the strike, appeared aimed at containing any escalation with Iran or the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist group.

“Iranian aircraft are transporting arms on a daily basis via the Damascus Airport” to arm the Syrian regime and Hezbollah, said the source.

Furthermore, the Israeli strike cannot hinder this process and therefore has “no tactical or strategic effect.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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