Four days after the assassination of top Hizbullah military commander Imad Mugniyah, Defense Minister Ehud Barak referred to the incident for the first time during a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying it was "a hard hit for Hizbullah and global terrorism."
Barak, who was in Turkey for a visit at the time of the killing, said Mugniyah "was for dozens of years responsible for the murder of hundreds of civilians and soldiers in many countries in the world."
The defense minister said it would take time for Hizbullah to find a replacement for the slain terrorist mastermind. "I don't believe that Syria, Hizbullah and Iran have any idea of who did it, however Hizbullah has decided – as we saw in Nasrallah's speech – to point an accusatory finger at Israel.
"Because of this, we must assume that Hizbullah will attempt to respond (with an attack) in Israel or abroad. It is possible they will do so with the help of Syria or Iran."
Following the warnings, Barak added "the security establishment and the IDF are alert and ready in the various sectors. Israel has no interest in escalation, however given the recent events we are prepared (for it)."
Barak updated the ministers at the meeting, saying he instructed his deputy, Matan Vilnai, "to carry out an ongoing determination of the situation and to direct the bodies dealing with the matter – including the Foreign Ministry and the Counter Terrorism Bureau – as needed."
He concluded by saying that "the rainbow of threats remains diverse."