Strike against Hezbollah was an intelligence and operational success, ex-Shin Bet chief says

Contradicting speculations that alleged Israeli strike was politically timed, Yaakov Peri says attack too significant for cynical exploitation.

January 20, 2015 12:28
2 minute read.
Israel strike in Syria

Footage of Hezbollah convoy reportedly hit by Israeli air strike released. (photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)


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Calling the strike that killed one Iranian general and a key Hezbollah figure an "intelligence and operational success," former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yaakov Peri still refrained from attributing the hit to Israel in name.

Speaking in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday, the Yesh Atid MK suggested that Hezbollah's presence so close to the mountainous border with Israel was a preparatory measure.

"In my analysis this was meant to facilitate a series of terrorist attacks inside Israeli territory," Peri said, adding that he suspects that the identities of those killed in the strike was not necessarily a mystery to the involved intelligence actors  prior to the mission.

Jihad Mughniyeh, son of former Hezbollah chief Imad Mugniyeh, as well as 11 others were killed in the airborne attack, including six Iranians, one of them a general. Iranian state sources confirmed the identity of the senior Revolutionary Guard officer, naming him as General Mohamed Allahdadi. Another key figure killed in the attack was identified as Mohammed Issa, the head of Hezbollah's operation in war-torn Syria and Iraq.
Footage of Hezbollah convoy reportedly hit by Israeli air strike released

The former Israeli spymaster also weighed in on another senior defense figure's reported speculation that the timing of the Golan strike was politically convenient.

Former candidate for IDF chief of staff Yoav Galant had linked the attack on the Hezbollah convoy to the political climate surrounding the upcoming Israeli elections, saying that “from past events you can learn that sometimes there is timing that is not unrelated to campaigns.”

Though Galant later retracted the comment, the retired head of the southern command and current number two in Koolanu's list came under scrutiny from his colleagues who called his comments "disappointing" and "unnecessary."

Peri echoed the sentiment though his words were more measured.

"There is no doubt that when an operation like this rises to levels of national significance, all the consequences must be checked and weighed", Peri said, adding that such conspiratorial thinking does not play into his understanding of the motives behind the Sunday operation. "I believe there is no political connection."

Though he lauded the tactical circumstances of the strike, Peri also stated that there is an emotional element for Hezbollah in losing such high ranking figures and that the consequences of such a powerful blow must be weighed by the security establishment and not taken lightly.

Speaking on the prime minister, Peri claimed that while he diverges on diplomatic decisions, when it comes to strategic decisions he trusts Netanyahu.

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