Iran has confirmed that a general of its elite Revolutionary Guards has died in a suspected Israeli strike on Syria that also killed six members of the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Shia Iran and Hezbollah are Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main regional allies in his war against the mainly Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow him.
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“General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and a number of fighters and Islamic Resistance [Hezbollah] forces were attacked by the Zionist regime’s helicopters,” a statement on the Revolutionary Guards’ website said on Monday.
“This brave general and some members of Hezbollah were martyred.”
The statement said Allahdadi was in Syria “as an adviser helping the Syrian government to confront takfiri Salafist [Sunni extremist] terrorists”.
A source close to Hezbollah had earlier told AFP news agency that six Iranian soldiers, including commanders, died alongside six of its own fighters in the attack, but the Revolutionary Guards made no mention of other losses.
The raid, near Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights on Sunday, angered Hezbollah’s supporters, but analysts said the group would seek to avoid a major escalation with Israel.
Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston, reporting from Beirut in neighbouring Lebanon, said that while the situation was under control, there was still a feeling of unease.
“The question is how is Hezbollah going to respond, what type of retaliatory action can we expect now from Hezbollah and will it be strong in that it could lead to a war?”
She said a more measured response was expected, adding that she had spoken to a Hezbollah representative who effectively said: “Wait and see.”
Jihad Mughniyeh, son of Hezbollah’s slain commander Imad Mughniyeh, was buried on Monday afternoon in Beirut’s southern suburbs.
The six fighters killed on Sunday afternoon were carrying out a field reconnaissance mission in Mazraat Amal village, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television said.
An Israeli security source confirmed a helicopter had carried out a strike against “terrorists” in the Golan who were allegedly carrying out an attack.