Israel Deploys Iron Dome Batteries, Braces for Hezbollah Retaliation
Israel has deployed several Iron Dome anti-missile batteries along its northern border bracing for possible attacks from Hezbollah, after six fighters of the militant group were killed during the raid on the Golan Heights on Sunday, January 18.
Israeli troops patrol the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights on January 18, 2015. An Israeli helicopter carried out a strike today against terrorists in the Syrian sector of the Golan Heights who were allegedly preparing an attack on Israel, an Israeli security source said.
MOSCOW, January 20 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — Israel defense forces are on high alert after Iranian military men and six Hezbollah fighters were killed during the raid on the side of the Golan Heights, controlled by Syria, on Sunday.
"Hezbollah claims Israel carried out Sunday's strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, which killed a prominent Hezbollah fighter, a senior Iranian general, and five other Hezbollah members. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its role in the strike," the Associated Press reported.
Citing UN spokesman Farhan Haq, Agence France-Presse reveals, however, that UN peacekeepers in the Golan saw "two unmanned aerial vehicles flying from the Alpha (Israeli) side and crossing the ceasefire line" on Sunday. "An hour later, smoke was observed coming from the general direction of position 30," Haq said, adding that the drones were seen flying over the "position 30" area and "again crossing the ceasefire line."
Haaretz, an Israeli media outlet, reports that Hezbollah parliament member Kamal Rifai slammed Jerusalem for the attack and warned it about the possible retaliation.
"Hezbollah and its leadership have the smarts, the resources and the capability to respond accordingly, after taking into consideration the political-security situation of Lebanon and the region at large," Kamal Rifai said in an interview with Lebanese media.
The Sunday's strike claimed the lives of six Hezbollah members, including Golan coordinator Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Mughniyeh – a prominent Hezbollah operative. The media outlet points out that Iranian General Mohammed Allahdadi was also killed during the assault together with five Iranian military servicemen.
General Ali Jafaari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp, stated on Tuesday that "Zionists" would face "devastating thunderbolts," stressing that the deaths of Allahdaddi and Jihad Mughniyeh had become "a new opening point for the collapse of the Zionist regime."
In response, Jerusalem has deployed several "Iron Dome" anti-missile batteries along its northern border and intensified surveillance in the region, the Associated Press reports, citing Israeli officials.
"The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] is prepared, tracking all developments, and ready to act as needed. This statement is not simply a speech — it's a matter of real operational preparedness," Israel Defense Forces' Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said as quoted by the Times of Israel.
It is worth mentioning that since the beginning of the Syrian war, Israel has allegedly conducted several airstrikes against Syria, targeting its advanced military systems.