Hezbollah Official: Response to Israel Will Be Harsh and Carefully Chosen

In an interview with Lebanese media, MP Kamal Arafai said that Israel had used the strike to boost the morale of jihadist fighters battling the Assad regime.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Hezbollah members and supporters carry the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs, January 19, 2015.
Hezbollah members and supporters carry the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh during his funeral in Beirut's suburbs, January 19, 2015.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

A Hezbollah parliament member said Tuesday that the militant organization's response to the attack in Syria earlier this week that killed six of its members would be harsh, adding that it would take its time to prepare and choose its target.

In an interview with Lebanese media, MP Kamal Rifai said that Israel had used the strike to boost the morale of jihadist fighters battling the Assad regime to send a double message to Iran and Hezbollah.

Israel has not commented on the air strike Sunday in the Quneitra region of Syria near the Golan border, which foreign media has attributed to the Israel Air Force. The United Nations peacekeeping force in the Golan said Monday that its observers had witnessed two drones crossing the border from Israel at the time of the strike.

"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," he said.

Rifai's message echoes those voiced by Lebanese officials and prominent figures on Monday, who assessed that Hezbollah had no interest in engaging in an all-out operation with Israel while the international community was invested in its war on the Islamic State and radical jihadist groups. According to Rifai, Hezbollah does not want to divert that attention to a war with Israel.

The strike on Sunday hit a convoy carrying Hezbollah's Golan coordinator Jihad Mughniyeh and commander Mohammed Issa, known as Abu Issa, in the province of Quneitra,, killing six Hezbollah members in all, a Hezbollah statement said. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Mohammed Allahdadi was also killed, along with five other Iranian military men.

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