Naharnet

Nasrallah Expected to Give Speech as Hizbullah Investigates Israeli Strike

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is expected to give a speech on Sunday following the death of six party members in an Israeli strike in Syria as the movement investigated whether the attack was a result of a major security breach.

As Safir daily said Tuesday that Nasrallah had been scheduled to address his supporters on the seventh assassination anniversary of military commander Imad Mughniyeh on February 16.

But he is now likely to appear during a ceremony next Sunday, a week after the Hizbullah members, including Mughniyeh's son Jihad, were killed in the Israeli air strike in the area of Mazraat al-Amal on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

Hizbullah officials have said the Hizbullah members came under rocket shelling from Israeli helicopters. But U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that peacekeepers serving in the Golan saw drones flying before the attack.

"The incident is a violation of the 1974 agreement on disengagement" between Israel and Syria, he said.

However, Hizbullah's main focus in the investigation is likely the person who was targeted in the attack and whether Israeli agents had informed Tel Aviv about the convoy.

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards confirmed on Monday the death of one of their generals in a statement on their website.

"General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and a number of fighters and Islamic Resistance (Hizbullah) forces were attacked by the Zionist regime's helicopters," it said.

A source close to Hizbullah said six Iranians had also been killed in the attack.

The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat on Tuesday that the Hizbullah members and the Iranians were preparing for a “security act” in the Golan against Israeli targets before they were targeted in the strike.

But Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Walid Sukkarieh said the party is still investigating whether Israel was aware that the targeted members were from Hizbullah or whether it thought it was attacking a unit from Syrian President Bashar Assad's troops.

A Syrian activist, who uses the name Abu Omar, said Hizbullah was widely rumored to be training pro-Assad militiamen and Syrian government forces near the area of the strikes. The party has sent its forces to Syria to help the president against the rebellion.

In remarks to al-Joumhouria daily, Sukkarieh accused Israel of seeking to normalize relations with opposition forces in the Golan, mainly the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front.

Another Hizbullah official Mahmoud Qmati expressed similar remarks, telling the newspaper that “Israel clearly stands by terrorist takfiri organizations” in Syria.

“This aggression sets a dangerous precedent in the history of the conflict,” he said.

“The Israeli enemy will not rest and will not be safe,” Qmati said.

He vowed a Hizbullah response. “Our right for a retaliation is clear and we will not give it up,” he added.

G.K.

H.K.


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