JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel said it was not targeting an Iranian general in a deadly airstrike on the Syria border.
Citing an unnamed Israeli senior security source, Reuters reported that Israel believed it was hitting only low-level guerrillas aiming to attack Israel in Sunday’s strike in Quneitra, on the Golan Heights.
Gen. Mohammed Ali Allahdadi and at least five Hezbollah members were killed in the strike, including Jihad Mughniyah, the son of the late Hezbollah military leader Imad Mughniyah.
Allahdadi was in Syria to advise its army in the country’s nearly four-year civil war, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency.
The Israeli source declined to be identified because Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it was behind the airstrike, according to Reuters. His remarks are believed to be an attempt to contain an escalation of violence with Iran or Hezbollah.
Both Hezbollah and Iran have vowed to retaliate against Israel for the attack.
The source told Reuters that he believed there would be a retaliation, but that “a major escalation is not in the interest of either side.”
Israel reportedly has deployed Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems in its North preparing for possible retaliation.
The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, on Tuesday accused Israel of being a terrorist regime.