Israeli strikes kill Hezbollah fighters in Syria
An Israeli strike in Syria yesterday killed the son of a slain top Hezbollah commander and another four fighters in a move that could ratchet up tensions with the powerful Lebanese Shiite movement, which recently boasted of rockets that can hit any part of the Jewish state.
Hezbollah fighters in towns and villages along the border with Israel went on high alert, said an official from the group. In the Shiite-dominated areas of south Lebanon and Beirut the streets emptied quickly, as residents feared an escalation. Hezbollah-run al-Manar TV warned that Israel was "playing with fire that puts the security of the whole Middle East on edge".
A Hezbollah official identified one of the five slain men as Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah operative assassinated in 2008 in Damascus. Hezbollah blames Israel for the killing and has long vowed to avenge his death. The official said the dead included another senior Hezbollah commander, Mohammed Issa, and at least one Iranian with the group.
No official comment
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief the media.
Israel's military did not comment on yesterday's incident.
Jihad Mughniyeh is one of the most prominent Hezbollah officials to die in Syria since the group entered the fray in 2012, fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces against the Sunni-led rebellion.
Sunday's strike targeted two Hezbollah vehicles as fighters were inspecting positions in the Golan Heights, close to the Israeli-controlled frontier, in an area known as Mazrat al-Amal.
Hezbollah's media wing said "a number" of fighters were killed, but did not provide names.