A helicopter missile strike in Syria killed multiple Hezbollah terrorists, including a field commander that is the son of former elite terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, as well as an Iranian field commander. According to Hezbollah media Al-Manar, Israel is behind the attack, although the Israelis have not officially claimed credit.
The Daily Star reported that the slain Iranian was Abu Ali Tabtabai, a senior commander, who was killed along with six Hezbollah terrorists, including Jihad Mughniyeh. The Daily Star noted the incident came after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack Israel last week.
Nasrallah told the Al-Mayadeen news channel that after alleged Israeli strikes in Syria—which are believed to have prevented advanced weaponry from reaching Hezbollah terrorists— hitting Israel in retaliation could come at “any time.”
The Daily Star said the strike on the Hezbollah group impacted two vehicles, destroying one completely. Al-Manar reported they were in Syria when they were hit.
While Israel did not officially admit to carrying out the attack, they are suspected of targeting Hezbollah terrorists and weapons destined for the terror group over the last decade. Hezbollah has long represented one of the most serious terrorist threats to Israel, carrying out attacks both in Israel and abroad, bombings in Europe and South America. A major patron of Iran, Hezbollah is considered one of the main terror arms of the Iranians.
While not addressing Sunday’s helicopter hit, Israeli Chief-of-Staff General Yair Golan was quoted by the IDF Blog in a report posted on Sunday underscoring the threat Hezbollah posed to Israel.
“ISIS [ISIL] is not far from us, but they are not the only potential danger for us in the region,” said Golan. “….We can’t forget that the most pressing threat is from radical Shia Islam, led by Hezbollah.”
Golan said that while there was no evidence of Hezbollah terror tunnels in the north intended for infiltrating Israel—as Hamas did in the south in Gaza—such tactics are still a threat and Golan went so far as to say that Israel should “assume” Hezbollah has them.
Above ground, Hezbollah is thought to possess tens of thousands of missiles, some of which can reach most if not all of the country of Israel. Golan said that while the Iron Dome missile defense system managed to neutralize most of the Hamas rocket threat in the south, the same may not be true in the north.
“I am not sure we’ll be able to provide a rocket shield against Hezbollah as we did with Hamas rockets from Gaza,” Golan was quoted by the IDF Blog as saying. “We’ll neutralize the bigger rockets but we won’t be able to stop them all.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 18, 2015)