The senior Iranian responsible for coordinating military activity on behalf of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq threatened Thursday to “wipe out” the State of Israel.
Speaking at a Tehran ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of the assassination — attributed to Israel’s Mossad and the CIA — of Imad Mughniyeh, the global operations chief of the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, al-Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani said that the punishment for shedding Mughniyeh’s blood would be to “wipe out the Zionist entity.”
His call for revenge came in the wake of renewed tensions on the Israeli-Syrian border after an Iranian drone entered northern Israel from Syria on Saturday morning and was shot down by an attack helicopter.
The Israeli air force retaliated against Iranian targets in Syria, but one Israeli fighter jet was downed by Syrian forces on its return to Israel, triggering a second round of Israeli strikes, specifically aimed at Syrian air defenses.
Mughniyeh was killed in a car bomb explosion in Damascus on February 12, 2008. In 2015, his son Jihad, a Hezbollah commander, was assassinated in an airstrike that was also attributed to Israel.
Soleimani, Iranian media reported, said Israel lived in palpable fear thanks to the work of Imad Mughniyeh and other “martyrs” in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.
He also claimed that Mughniyeh was the one who “forced” Israel’s army to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and praised him for “fortifying the Gaza Strip,” where the terror group Hamas holds sway.
Mughniyeh’s death shocked the world, he said, but “resulted in Islamic uprising” against Israel.
Both Hezbollah and Hamas receive Iranian funding and support.
The al-Quds Force is the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards responsible for military and clandestine operations outside of the Islamic Republic.
Israel has issued several stern warnings of late about the increased Iranian involvement along its border in Syria and Lebanon.
On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called Iran’s piloting of a drone into Israel a “wake-up call” to the world regarding Iranian efforts to cement its presence in Syria.
“Iran and Hezbollah are making plans to stay in Syria,” she said.