Several Hizbullah Fighters Killed in Israeli Raid in Syria, Including Mughniyeh's Son

Several Hizbullah fighters were killed Sunday in an Israeli airstrike on the Quneitra region in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights.

“The Israeli enemy's helicopters fired missiles at a group of Hizbullah fighters who were inspecting the town of Mazraat al-Amal in the Syrian Quneitra region,” Hizbullah's media department announced in a statement.

The strike “resulted in the martyrdom of a number of jihadist brothers, whose names will be announced later, after informing their honorable families,” the party added.

A source close to Hizbullah told Agence France-Presse that the strike killed a military commander of the Lebanese group and five fighters.

The dead included Mohammed Issa, a Hizbullah commander responsible for its Syrian and Iraqi operations, as well as Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hizbullah operative killed in a 2008 car bombing in Syria which was blamed on Israel, the source told AFP.

Lebanese and Arab media outlets identified the other four Hizbullah members killed in the raid as Mahdi al-Moussawi, Ali Fouad, Hussein Hassan and Abbas Hijazi.

Al-Arabiya TV meanwhile said that “a prominent Hizbullah leader and 6 Iranians were killed in the Israeli airstrike on Golan.”

Al-Jadeed television for its part said "Iranian commander Abu Ali al-Tabtabani was among the martyrs of the Israeli raid on Golan."

Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli security source said an Israeli helicopter carried out a strike against "terrorists" in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights.

The source told AFP that the militants were preparing an attack on Israel and that the airstrike took place near Quneitra, close to the ceasefire line separating the Syrian part of the Golan Heights from the Israeli-occupied sector, confirming a report by Hizbullah's al-Manar television.

The source could not provide details about the identities of the targets or the nature of the attack they were allegedly preparing.

The Israeli army has declined to comment on the incident.

"Hizbullah's members went on high alert on Lebanon's southern border with Israel only minutes after the party announced that Israel had bombed Syria's Quneitra," Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported.

In the wake of the raid, Israel's warplanes and reconnaissance aircraft “intensified their overflights above the occupied Shebaa Farms and the Golan Heights,” Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

Unusual movements by the Israeli forces were also reported along the border with Lebanon and in the occupied Shebaa Farms, said NNA.

According to the Israeli source, Israeli drones were present in the area during the attack. Last month, the Syrian army said it shot down an Israeli reconnaissance drone flying over Quneitra province.

The attack comes a few days after Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened in an interview with the Beirut-based al-Mayadeen news channel that his group would retaliate against Israel for repeated strikes on Syria.

Nasrallah also told al-Mayadeen that Hizbullah has had Iranian Fateh-110 missiles that can hit the whole of Israel since 2006, adding that it is always ready to fight Israel.

Hizbullah fought a bloody war with Israel in the summer of 2006 that killed some 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

In August, five rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights and in July Israel shelled Syrian army positions after a Syrian rocket hit Israel.

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.


Source: Agence France Presse, Naharnet

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