Iran warns Israel: We'll avenge Guards commander

Tehran has said Revolutionary Guard commander killed by Syrian rebels, but Khamenei aide vows to exact revenge on Israel.

Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran will soon exact revenge on Israel for the recent killing of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander in Syria, an aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted on Saturday as saying.
Iran said on Thursday that an Iranian military commander named Hassan Shateri, also known as Hessam Khoshnevis, had been killed in Syria by rebels fighting President Bashar Assad, an ally of Tehran.
But Iran’s envoy to Beirut, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, on Thursday drew a link between the killing and Israel.
Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative to the IRGC’s elite Quds force, said on Friday evening that Iran’s “resolve against Israel” had only grown stronger with Shateri’s killing.
“Our enemies should also know that we will quickly get revenge for [the death of] Haj Hassan [Shateri] from the Israelis, and the enemies cannot shut off the Iranian people with such stupid acts,” Shirazi was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students’ News Agency on Saturday.
Israel has not commented on the killing.
The IRGC media office said last week that Shateri had been “martyred on his way from Damascus to Beirut by mercenaries.”
However, a faction of Syrian rebels was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying on Friday that Shateri had actually been assassinated on January 30, when Israel allegedly attacked a convoy and military factory in Jamaraya, Syria, near the Lebanon border.
The account seems in line with Iranian allegations that “suspected Israeli agents” carried out the attack.
Though killed in Syria, Shateri served as an IRGC commander in Lebanon. Reports in the Iranian media suggest Shateri was an important figure who had both overt and a covert roles.
Officially, Shateri was described as being in charge of Iranian construction efforts in southern Lebanon following the 2006 Second Lebanon War. However, one of the mourners at his funeral, an employee of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, described him as being “no less [important]” than assassinated Hezbollah field commander Imad Mugniyah.
Mugniyah was a critical figure in the Hezbollah hierarchy and was behind the Shi’ite terror organization’s most ambitious attacks for many years.
The comparison to Mugniyah could be a reference to the centrality of Shetari’s role in aiding Hezbollah’s armaments efforts. The organization is currently estimated to be in possession of some 65,000 rockets.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.