Israeli strike on Damascus kills four Iranian Revolutionary Guards

Iran calls the strikea desperate attempt to spread instability in region, says reserves its right to respond to Israel's organised terrorism

By Reuters

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A crane lifts a damaged car near a site that was hit by an Israeli strike in the Mazzeh neighborhood of Damascus. — Reuters
A crane lifts a damaged car near a site that was hit by an Israeli strike in the Mazzeh neighborhood of Damascus. — Reuters

Published: Sat 20 Jan 2024, 8:13 PM

An Israeli missile strike on Syria's capital Damascus on Saturday killed four members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, including the head of the force's information unit, a security source in the pro-Syria alliance said.

In Tehran, the Revolutionary Guards named four military advisers who were killed in the Israeli strike but did not give their rank. Iranian state television said the targeted building was the residence of Iranian advisers in the Syrian capital.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which has long pursued a bombing campaign against Iran's military and security presence in Syria. Iran condemned the strike as a "desperate attempt to spread instability in region", state media reported.

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"Iran...reserves its right to respond to the organised terrorism of the fake Zionist regime at the appropriate time and place," foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said.

Syrian state media reported an Israeli "aerial attack" on a building in the Mazzeh neighbourhood of Damascus and said Syrian air defences had shot down a number of missiles.

The security source, part of a network of groups close to Syria's government and its ally Iran, told Reuters the multi-storey building was used by Iranian advisers supporting President Bashar Al Assad's government. The source said it was completely flattened by "precision-targeted Israeli missiles".

The source said a fifth person was also killed but they could not immediately identify the nationality.

Essam Al Amin, head of the Al Mowasat Hospital in Damascus, told Reuters that his hospital had received one corpse and three wounded people, including a woman, following Saturday's attack.

Ambulances and fire trucks gathered around the site of the strike, which had been cordoned off, a Reuters journalist at the scene said. Rescue operations for people stuck under the rubble continued through the day.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed Palestinian faction present in Syria and Lebanon, condemned the air strike but told Reuters that none of their members were wounded, dismissing reports that some were at the bombed-out building.

Iran and its military allies in Syria have entrenched themselves in wide areas of eastern, southern and northern Syria and in several suburbs around the capital.

In December, an Israeli air strike killed two Guards members, and another near Damascus on December 25 killed a senior adviser to the Guards who was overseeing military coordination between Syria and Iran.

In Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah as well as local wings of Palestinian militant groups have fired rockets across the border at Israel in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

On Saturday, an Israeli strike in south Lebanon killed two members of Hamas as they were travelling in their car, three security sources told Reuters.

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