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Israeli Strike in Syria  Kills Hezbollah Members
International

Israeli Strike in Syria Kills Hezbollah Members

An Israeli helicopter strike in Syria killed a commander from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the son of the group’s late military leader Imad Moughniyah, Hezbollah said, in a major blow that could lead to reprisal attacks.
The strike hit a convoy carrying Jihad Moughniyah and commander Mohamad Issa, known as Abu Issa, in the province of Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, killing six Hezbollah members in all, a statement from the group said.
The organization released a statement that a team of its members were conducting a field operation when they were hit by an Israeli rocket strike, Reuters said in a report.
It comes just days after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said frequent Israeli strikes in Syria were a major aggression, that the group was stronger than before and that Syria and its allies had the right to respond.
Hezbollah, which fought a 33-day war with Israel in 2006, has been fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria’s four-year war.
In August, five rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights and in July Israel shelled Syrian army positions.
Syria and Israel are officially in a state of war, and Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967. The occupation is not recognized by the international community.
The Hezbollah-run al-Manar news channel said the Israeli attack suggested “the enemy has gone crazy because of Hezbollah’s growing capabilities and it could lead to a costly adventure that will put the Middle East at stake”.
Israel’s military declined to comment, but an Israeli security source confirmed that the Israeli military had carried out the attack. It was not immediately clear what role Jihad Moughniyah, in his 20s, was playing in the fighting in Syria.

  Accusations
Hezbollah accused Israel in 2008 of assassinating Imad Moughniyah, who was implicated in high-profile attacks on Israeli and Western targets and wanted by the United States. Israel denies any involvement in that killing.
Nabil Boumonsef, a columnist at the Lebanon newspaper an-Nahar, said he believed the strike was a direct response to Nasrallah’s speech and could lead to a backlash.
“Killing the son of Moughniyah is dangerous. I do not think that the group can be quiet now, now that the father and the son are killed. I expect that it will do something,” he said.
UN peacekeepers intensified their patrols on the border between Lebanon and Israel on Sunday night, local sources said.

  Retaliation Threat
Israel has struck Syria several times since the start of the war, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for Hezbollah.
Syria said last month that Israeli jets had bombed areas near Damascus international airport and in the town of Dimas, near the border with Lebanon.
Nasrallah said on Thursday “the frequent attacks on different sites in Syria is a major breach. We consider (those) hostilities (to be) against all the resistance axis.”
“(Retaliation) is an open issue,” he added.

 

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