Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah sources are intimating that the “Syrian officer” injured on July 26 in Quneitra by Israel’s double Nimrod’ missile shot was none other than Revolutionary Guards Gen. Muhammad Resa Naghdi, 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 victim was earlier described officially as a Syrian officer.
If he was indeed hurt or killed by an Israeli rocket, Naghdi would become the highest-ranking IRGC general ever hit by the IDF.
On July 27, the semi-official Fars news agency reported that a top Iranian general recently visited the Israeli-Syrian border to tour Quneitra and the Golan demarcation lines between Syria and Israel – the first time the Tehran government had publicized a visit by a senior regime official to the area.
It may be presumed, debkafile’s intelligence sources say, that someone at the IDF lookout posts spotted and reported on Gen. Naghdi’s arrival with an entourage in Quneitra on July 26 and saw him inspecting through binoculars the IDF defense positions. He was then quickly identified.
Any decision to go after a high-ranking Iranian would not have been left to local IDF commanders or even OC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, but passed straight to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot – especially in this case.
General Naghdi is not just another Iranian general. He heads the more than a million-strong Basij militia, which is a pillar of the ayatollahs regime in Tehran, and the backbone of the Iranian internal security forces which maintain the regime’s total control in every corner of the Islamic Republic.
Gen. Naghdi’s visit to Quneitra undoubtedly presaged some decisions in Tehran with regard to direct Hizballah-Syrian-Iranian action against Israel.
The IDF is holding its silence on reports of his injury, declining as usual to comment on reports by foreign publications.
The Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah agencies accuse Israel of the attack because they say it was executed by two Nimrod anti-tank long-range missiles, manufactured by the Israeli Aerospace Industry, for use by the IDF against armored vehicles, ships, bunkers and troop concentrations..
The missile has a semi-active laser guidance system, and is able to operate day and night. Its flight path can be below the clouds, while its operators far behind use a laser to guide it to target.
The launcher platform, with four missiles, can be installed on a Jeep, weapon-bearing vehicle, Abir, or armored vehicles. In addition, it is possible to send it from CH-53 ‘Yasur’ helicopter.
Israel has acted in the past against the establishment of an Iranian and/or Hizballah military presence on its Golan doorstep. On Jan. 19, 2015, an IDF air strike killed the Iranian Brig. Gen, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and six Hizballah officers while they were on a tour of inspection near Quneitra.
Thursday, July 28, debkafile ran an exclusive report on rising Israel-Russia tensions centering on southern Syria and the Golan.
For four days since July 25, the Syrian army has been continuously firing artillery batteries – moved close to Israel’s defense lines on the Golan border – in a manner that comes dangerously close to provoking an Israeli response. This carefully orchestrated Syrian campaign goes on around the clock.
It is the first time in the six years of the Syrian war that Bashar Assad has ventured to come near to provoking Israel. But now he appears to be emboldened by his Russian ally.
The IDF is holding its fire for the moment. But Israeli military and government leaders know that the time is near for the IDF to be forced to hit back, especially since it is becoming evident that the Syrian army’s steps ae backed by Russia.
debkafile’s military sources provide details of the Syrian steps:
- The Syrian army’s 90th and 121nd battalions have been firing their artillery batteries non-stop across a 10km band along the Golan border from Hamadia, north of Quneitra, up to a point facing the Israeli village of Eyn Zivan. (See attacked map).
This means that the Syrian army has seized the center of buffer zone between Israel and Syria and made it a firing zone.
- This artillery fire fans out across a radius that comes a few meters short of the Israeli border and the IDF troops stationed there. It then recedes to a distance of 500 to 600 meters and sweeps across the outposts and bases of the Syrian rebel forces believed to be in touch with Israel or in receipt of Israeli medical aid.
- The new Syrian attack appears to hold a message for Jerusalem: For six years, you supported the rebels against the Assad regime in southern Syria. That’s now over. If you continue, you will come face to face with Syrian fire.
- Damascus is also cautioning those rebels: For years, you fought us with Israel at your backs. But no longer. Watch us bring you under direct artillery fire, while the IDF sits on its hands.
- On July 26, Russian media published an article revealing that Russia had delivered to the Syrian Air Force, advanced SU-24M2 front-line bombers, which is designed for attack on frontlines of battle. Israeli officials were unpleasantly taken aback by the news. Up until now, the Russians and Syrians refrained from deploying air strength in South Syria near the Israeli border. Now the Syrian air force has the means to do so.
- debkafile military sources report that the SU-24M2, following recent upgrades and modifications in Russian factories, is now capable of dropping smart bombs – ballistic bombs with a guidance system on their tails that enable them to hit targets with precision.This guidance system does not rely on US GPS satellites but rather the equivalent Russian GLONASS system which is linked to a network of 21 Russian satellites and partially encrypted for military usages.
In addition, the SU-24M2 is equipped with a system that projects the information the pilot needs (flight details and battle details) on the plane’s windshield (head-up display) and on the pilot’s visor.
- The Russians delivered to the Syrians two of these sophisticated airplanes this week, out of 10 that they will supply soon.
The IDF has concluded that it is only a matter of time before these planes appear in Southern Syria and so generate a new and highly combustible situation on Israel’s northern and northeastern borders.
The Russians are colluding with Damascus to inform Israel that it will no longer be allowed by either to continue backing the rebel forces in southern Syria or sustain the buffer zone which they man.
Israel may pay dear if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decide to continue to abstain from hitting back at the Syrian fire which is aimed every few hours at the vicinity of IDF posts or the impending arrival of Russian bombers. The price in store would be the weakening of the IDF’s hold on the Golan border.