Iran confirmed Monday that one of its generals was among the dead in an Israeli airstrike that also killed several Hezbollah fighters in southern Syria on Sunday, an announcement that added to the tension and unpredictability in the region after the strike.

The attack placed Israel in a direct battlefield confrontation on Syrian soil with its longtime enemies Iran and Hezbollah. And it put pressure on Hezbollah to respond militarily, risking further escalation on the outskirts of Syria’s chaotic civil war.

The death of the general, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, added to the evidence of Iran’s deep military involvement across the Syrian conflict. But the strike that killed him also appeared to be a departure from the tacit agreement in which a host of foreign players — Israel, Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey, the United States, and its Persian Gulf Arab allies — have increasingly intervened openly in Syria while seeking to avoid direct clashes with one another. […]