UPDATE 1445 GMT: An Israeli “senior security source” has told the media that the Iranian general killed in Israel’s airstrike in southeast Syria on Sunday was not the intended target.
The source said:
We did not expect the outcome in terms of the stature of those killed — certainly not the Iranian general. We thought we were hitting an enemy field unit that was on its way to carry out an attack on us at the frontier fence.
We got the alert, we spotted the vehicle, identified it was an enemy vehicle and took the shot. We saw this as a limited tactical operation.
The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, has warned Israel of retaliation over Sunday’s killing of Hezbollah and Iranian forces, including senior commanders, in an airstrike in southwest Syria.
“The Revolutionary Guard is committed to the annihilation of the Zionist regime,” Jafari said. “Zionists should expect destructive thunderbolts.”
Israel’s helicopters fired two missiles on vehicles in Quneitra Province, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, killing General Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi, one of the Revolutionary Guards’ leading officers in Syria. Another Iranian, Hezbollah commander Abu Ali Tabatabai was also slain, as were several Hezbollah commanders and fighters.
One Iranian site, Tabnak, said several other Iranian personnel were casualties.
Jafari pledged, “The IRGC will continue and deepen its support for the Muslim combatants and fighters in the region until full removal of this very epitome of evil from the geopolitics of the region.”
Iranian Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani buttressed Jafari’s rhetoric with the pronouncement that Israel is responsible for the violence and destruction in the Middle East.
Larijani added the threat, “The role of the Zionist regime in the acts of terror in the region, particularly operations conducted in Syria, is totally obvious, and necessary measures should be taken in these cases.”
And the Supreme Leader’s office has shown Ayatollah Khamenei’s support for Hezbollah through photos of him with Jihad Imad Mughniyeh, a victim on Sunday and the son of a famed Hezbollah commander who was assassinated by Israel in Syria in 2008:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 20, 2015
Iran Promotes Military Cooperation With Russia
Iran has promoted its military cooperation with Russia by hosting Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu and signing memoranda for bilateral cooperation.
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the two countries had “identical views regarding regional and international developments”. Implicitly referring to the Syrian crisis, where Russia and Iran have propped up the Assad regime, he declared that regional problems should be solved by regional countries and that any foreign interference would further complicate the situation.