An Israeli strike on Syria that killed six members of the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah terrorist organization also killed six Iranian solders and commanders, including an Iranian general.
"The Israeli strike killed six Iranian soldiers, including commanders, as well as the six members of Hezbollah. They were all in a convoy of three cars," a source close to the Shia Islamist group told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Iranian officials confirmed the claim shortly after, adding that one of those killed was a general in the elite Revolutionary Guard force.
"General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and a number of fighters and Islamic Resistance (Hezbollah) forces were attacked by the Zionist regime's helicopters," said a statement on the Guards' website. "This brave general and some members of Hezbollah were martyred."
The strike killed Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the late Imad Mughniyeh who was Hezbollah's former military commander. Mughniyeh was among six Hezbollah terrorists killed, including a Hezbollah commander.
Mughniyeh, who according to intelligence sources was planning attacks on Israel's north and had formed a terrorist organization of his own backed by Hezbollah and Iran, was to be buried on Monday afternoon in Beirut's southern suburbs, a stronghold of the terror group.
On Monday afternoon, mourners gathered in Hezbollah's south Beirut stronghold for Mughniyeh's funeral.
"God willing, the resistance will retaliate but the leadership of the resistance will be the one to decide the nature and timing," said Hassana Sadaqa, as she prepared to pay her respects.
Mughniyeh will be buried in the same grave as his father Imad, who was killed in a 2008 car bombing that Hezbollah blamed on Israel.
The six terrorists killed on Sunday afternoon were carrying out a field reconnaissance mission in Mazraat Amal village, near Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights, Hezbollah's Al-Manar television said.
An Israeli security source confirmed that an Israeli helicopter had carried out a strike against terrorists in the Golan who were allegedly carrying out an attack.
Hezbollah responded by vowing an attack on Israel, but made clear it does not want another full-scale war.
"What happened is that the Israelis called Hezbollah's bluff last night," said Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science at the American University in Beirut. "Hezbollah will not be able to retaliate, because if it retaliates, it will be another war. Hezbollah is in Syria and it is not ready for another war against Israel."
That "bluff" was stated clearly last week, when Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah bombastically threatened to conquer the northern Galilee region of Israel in two separate interviews.
Lebanese media weighed the prospect of conflict, with the Al-Safir newspaper saying Hezbollah needed something "more than a reply and less than a war." In Israel, analysts made the same calculation.
"Hezbollah doesn't want a full-fledged war," said Yoram Schweitzer, a former Israeli military counterterrorism chief.
"It has a number of possibilities to respond in different arenas. We assume that it currently does not want full contact," he told AFP.