Israel’s Sunday attack on Hezbollah fighters in southern Syria didn’t just killed some important Hezbollah anti-ISIS figures, leading to fears of retaliation from the Lebanese militia, but also killed a top Iranian general.
Israeli military sources are making it plain this was a mistake, and not the sort of “mistakes on purpose” Israel tends to do. Rather, they say, they had no idea there was an Iranian general in the convoy they attacked.
Though Israel is pretty much constantly at odds with Iran, analysts say directly assassinating a general has threatened the “tacit understanding” Israel and Iran have had, in which Iran doesn’t retaliate for repeated Israeli attacks on Syria.
The latest attack seemed designed to pick a fight with Hezbollah, a politically useful conflict for the Netanyahu government. Picking a fight with Iran less than two months before the election is a much more dangerous proposition, and one which could paint the outgoing government as particularly irresponsible.