Thousands in Tehran mourn Iranian general killed by Israel

Tehran (AFP) - Thousands gathered in Tehran Wednesday at a funeral procession for a Revolutionary Guards general killed by Israel, after his commander warned the Jewish state it should "await destructive thunderbolts".

General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi died alongside six fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah group in the attack Sunday near Quneitra on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights.

Allahdadi's coffin was draped in an Iranian flag as it was carried into a Guards base in southeast Tehran. He is to be buried on Thursday in Pariz, a town in the southern province of Kerman.

"The path of martyr Allahdadi is unstoppable and will be continued until the liberation of the Holy Quds (Jerusalem) and obliteration of the Zionist regime," Guards commander Major General Ali Jafari said at a ceremony at the base, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The mourners chanted "Death to Israel" and burned two Israeli flags.

Allahdadi died alongside Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of an assassinated Hezbollah commander, and Mohammed Issa, a fighter responsible for the Lebanese group's operations in Syria and Iraq.

An Israeli security source told AFP one of its helicopters carried out the strike, but a United Nations' observer force in the Golan on raised the possibility that drones may have been used.

On Tuesday, Jafari took aim at Israel, saying "the Zionists should await destructive thunderbolts."

"They have in the past seen our wrath," he said, adding the Guards "will continue its support for Muslim fighters and combatants in the region."

For his part, the defence minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, said "this action of Zionists will not be left without a response. The important thing is the question of the time and place of this response."

Mohsen Rezaie, secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, added that Hezbollah would eventually retaliate against "this recent atrocity," but that the group was "prudent and has a long term plan and will not be infuriated."

Once solely focused on fighting Israel, Hezbollah is now deeply involved in the war in Syria, where it backs President Bashar al-Assad.

Shiite Iran is Assad's main regional ally in his war against the mainly Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow him.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar television said the group's six fighters were killed on a reconnaissance mission.

But an Israeli security source said the strike was on "terrorists" who were preparing an attack on the Jewish state.

The incident came days after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to retaliate against Israel for its repeated strikes on targets in Syria, and boasted the movement was stronger than ever.

He touted a sophisticated arsenal, including Fateh-110 missiles, which have a range of 200 kilometres (125 miles) or more and are capable of hitting much of Israel.

In 2006, Israel fought a war against Hezbollah that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

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