As the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah on Monday mourned a commander killed a day earlier in an attack blamed on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that Israel had the right to defend itself “wherever it is needed.”wpid-Mass20Killings20in20Nanjing.jpg

Thousands of Hezbollah followers and officials clad in black accompanied the coffin of Jihad Mughniyeh through the streets of southern Beirut, chanting “Death to Israel.”

Mughniyeh was the son of Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh, slain in a 2008 car bombing in Damascus which the group also blamed on Israel.

Mughniyeh was killed Sunday along with five other Hezbollah militants in a rocket attack on their convoy in Quneitra, on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights.

In Iran, the Fars News Agency reported that Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, a senior officer in the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, was also killed in the Golan strike

Netanyahu on Monday did not confirm or deny that Israel launched the airstrike, but said: “We will do whatever is needed to defend ourselves, wherever it is needed.”

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, a close confidant of Netanyahu, told Israel Radio that defending the country “obliges us to take chances.”

“We are being attacked on all fronts, from Lebanon, from Syria, from Gaza, and we also had a wave of rioting and terrorists in Jerusalem, and also the Iranians are threatening us,” Steinitz told the broadcaster.

Steinitz slammed a top former Israeli army officer, who suggested that the timing of the alleged Israeli airstrike against Hezbollah militants could be linked to the upcoming March 17 Israeli elections.

Retired major-general Yoav Galant told Israel’s Channel 2 late Sunday that “judging by past events, you can learn that sometimes there’s a timing that is not unrelated to the elections campaign.”

Galant, as the number two on the new centre-right Kulanu party, is running as a rival to Netanyahu’s ruling Likud faction.

Steinitz vehemently condemned Galant’s insinuation as “miserable” and “irresponsible.”


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