Iran has accused Israel of carrying out a missile strike in Syria that resulted in the death of a high-ranking military official. This incident comes at a time of increasing concerns about the potential escalation of the conflict in Gaza into a regional war.
The Iranian official who was assassinated has been identified as Brig. Gen. Sayyed Razi Mousavi, a senior advisor to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. He was allegedly involved in overseeing the transportation of missiles and other weapons to Hezbollah, a military force backed by Iran and operating in Lebanon and Syria, known to be an adversary of Israel.
Israel, following its usual practice, has chosen not to directly respond to these accusations. However, Israeli officials have acknowledged that they are prepared for potential retaliation from Iran.
In addition to the conflict in Gaza, Israel is already engaged in skirmishes with Hezbollah fighters on its northern border with Lebanon. Furthermore, in response to the Gaza conflict, Houthi forces based in Yemen, also supported by Iran, have been targeting vessels in the Red Sea, further fueling the conflict.
Hezbollah confirmed General Mousavi’s killing, stating that he was a “dear brother.” The semiofficial Iranian news agency Fars has declared that Israel will undoubtedly face consequences for this crime. Various news outlets have reported that the assassination took place on Monday.
While Israeli officials have not commented on the identity of the perpetrators, they have confirmed the death of the general.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman of the Israeli Defense Forces, stated, “I am not referring to this or that operation in the Middle East reported by non-Israeli media. The I.D.F. has a role, of course: to protect and safeguard the security interests of the state of Israel.”
With both Iran and Hezbollah accusing Israel, the Israeli armed forces have been put on high alert, anticipating possible rocket or drone attacks launched from Syria and Lebanon.
Furthermore, more road closures are expected in northern Israel, as some routes have already been shut down due to the ongoing fighting with Hezbollah.
General Mousavi was known to be a close associate of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a highly respected Iranian security intelligence commander who was killed in a U.S. strike in Baghdad in 2020. In their announcement of General Mousavi’s death, Fars published a photograph of him and General Suleimani standing closely together.
Vivian Yee and Hwaida Saad contributed to this report.