Six Hizbollah fighters killed in Israeli strike

Six Hizbollah fighters killed in Israeli strike
Senior military leader and son of Imad Mughniyeh among the dead in strike on Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
3 min read
18 January, 2015
Israeli soldiers on alert after Israeli strike kills six Hizballah fighters (AFP)
Six Hizbollah fighters were killed Sunday in an Israeli air strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, including the son of assassinated senior commander Imad Mughniyeh.

The deaths were announced after an Israeli security source told AFP that an Israeli helicopter conducted a strike against "terrorists" near Quneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.

"A group of Hizbollah mujahedeen were martyred in a Zionist rocket attack in Quneitra, and their names will be revealed later," said Hizballah's al-Manar television.

     We consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis.

- Hassan Nasrallah
They were killed during a field reconnaissance mission in the Mazraat Amal village of Quneitra province, it said.

A source close to Hizbollah told AFP the dead included Mohammed Issa, a senior commander responsible for Hizballah operations in Syria and Iraq.

Also killed was Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hizballah operative killed in a 2008 car bombing in Syria which the group has blamed on Israel, said the source.

Syrian state television confirmed the Israeli air strike and said six people were killed in the raid but made no mention of Hizballah.

The attack comes days after Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to retaliate against Israel for repeated strikes on Syria.

Al-Manar channel, meanwhile, branded the strike "a costly adventure that threatens the security of the Middle East".

'Stronger than ever'

Nasrallah on Thursday told al-Mayadeen television that Hizballah has had Iranian Fateh-110 missiles that can hit the whole of Israel since 2006, adding that it is always ready to fight the Jewish state.

Israeli air strikes on Syria "target the whole of the resistance axis," Nasrallah said in reference to Syria, Iran and his movement.

"The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria," he said, adding the "axis is capable of responding" anytime.

He also said that Hizbollah was "stronger than we ever were as a resistance movement".

The Israeli air force has carried out several raids against targets in Syria since the conflict there started nearly four years ago.

The most recent strike was in December, when Israeli warplanes struck weapons warehouses near Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

Israel has never confirmed it carried out the strikes.

Israeli media said, however, after the December strikes that the air force had targeted arms convoys or depots of Iranian-made rockets.

In February 2014, two Israeli air raids hit a Hizbollah target on the Lebanon-Syria border, according to Lebanese security sources.

At the time Lebanon's National News Agency said the raids targeted the town of Nabi Sheet, a Hizbollah stronghold.

Nasrallah said on Thursday that Hizbollah was ready to fight a new war against Israel in Lebanon and renewed a threat to invade the Galilee region of northern Israel.

Hizbollah 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.

Syria and Israel are officially in a state of war, and Israel has occupied the Golan since 1967.