Iranian media reported on July 27 that senior military commander Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi visited Quneitra in southwestern Golan Heights in Syria by the border of “the occupied territories,” or the Israeli-controlled part. Naghdi is the head of the paramilitary Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed, also known as the Basij, which falls under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The media did not reveal the precise date of the visit, only that it was recent. Two photos of Naghdi were published.
Senior Iranian military commanders are known to operate in the Quneitra area. In January 2015, Israeli helicopter missile strikes killed several high value targets including IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, Hezbollah field commander Mohammad Issa, and Jihad Mughniyeh, son of slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh. Israel and Hezbollah almost found themselves at war, with heightened Hezbollah and Iranian rhetoric, coupled by a Hezbollah strike on an Israeli military patrol, which was then followed by bellicose Israeli statements.
Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV said the convoy was struck while inspecting positions in the village of Mazraat Amal, which is an area where the Lebanese group was giving crucial help to pro-government forces fighting rebels from al Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.
There has been increased fighting between pro-regime forces and Syrian rebels in the past several weeks in Quneitra. In addition, there have been cross-border incidents in the past month between the Israeli and the Syrian side involving stray mortar fires and a drone briefly crossing into Israel. No casualties have been reported from the Israel-Syria flares.
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