On Wednesday, an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) drone blasted a Jeep carrying four Hezbollah members, among them a senior officer. The vehicle was reportedly shuttling arms from Syria into Lebanon.
Initial reports were conflicting as the IDF first reported that some of the terrorists from Hezbollah were killed in the strike but then changed to state that although there were several injuries, no one was killed. Lebanese security officials claim that no one was injured in the strike.
Arab News reports said that said the occupants of the car included a senior Hezbollah operative by the name of Imad Karimi.
Other reports stated that a vehicle was carrying four Hezbollah fighters just inside Syria about 200 meters from the customs stop near the Lebanese border. An Israeli drone that was monitoring the vehicle fired a missile at the Jeep and missed. That caused the four Hezbollah men, including the senior officer to flee, seconds before the second missile destroyed the vehicle.
The Arab News spoke to an unnamed Lebanese security official who claimed to have witnessed the incident.
“The Israeli plane targeted the car near the Zabadani Bridge inside Syrian territory, but did not hit it,” he said. “It was again targeted near a pastry shop called Al-Haidari near the Jadida Yabus crossing. Those in the car jumped out of it before it was hit, and miraculously survived, because the car was burned and badly damaged.”
The Lebanese official said that Hezbollah has several bases and offices nearby, usually located in civilian areas. Hezbollah also has plenty of operatives in both Syria and over the border into Lebanon.
“The targeted vehicle did not cross the Lebanese-Syrian border, and was probably heading from Damascus to these camps and offices,” he added.
Neither Hezbollah nor the Israelis have commented on this latest incident. The Israeli government rarely addresses any strikes conducted against Hezbollah or any Iranian unit or proxy forces. However, they have acknowledged many airstrikes conducted in Syria since the civil war began there in 2011. Many of the airstrikes that they’ve conducted have targeted either Iranian units, weapons depots, and warehouses, as well as Syrian air defense units that have fired on Israeli aircraft.
The Israeli position has been clear. They will not accept any Iranian or Hezbollah bases near their borders.
An agreement with Russia was supposed to keep the Iranians and Hezbollah units back from the border region, most especially along the Golan Heights. However, the Syrians have given their approval to Hezbollah to create bases near the Israeli border. And a few days ago, a Syrian corps commander was videotaped by unnamed Israeli intelligence units visiting the Hezbollah base near the Golan, which prompted the stern Israeli warning.
“Even during the Coronavirus period, the new commander of the Syrian army’s 1st Division, Lua’a Ali Ahmad Asa’ad, continues to help and allow the Hezbollah terror group to establish a front on the Golan Heights,” the IDF released in a statement referring to the commander’s visit.
“In the clip, the new division commander is seen on a patrol of the front, including passing through areas known to be used by Hezbollah, with the head of Hezbollah’s southern command, Hajj Hashem,” the IDF added.
“We see you…consider this a warning,” the IDF said when they released the footage of the Syrian general’s visit on the Golan. On Wednesday, that warning turned into action.