ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Funeral held for 2 Iran Guard members killed in Syria strikes blamed on Israel

Iranian foreign ministry says Israel ‘creating discord in the region’; in apparent reference to judicial overhaul turmoil, official says there’s ‘no escape from internal collapse’

Mourners attend the funeral procession for two of Iran's Revolutionary Guard forces killed in Syria strikes blamed on Israel, held in Tehran on April 4, 2023 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Mourners attend the funeral procession for two of Iran's Revolutionary Guard forces killed in Syria strikes blamed on Israel, held in Tehran on April 4, 2023 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

Thousands of Iranians attended a funeral procession in Tehran on Tuesday for two Revolutionary Guard members killed in Syria strikes blamed on Israel last week.

Israel is alleged to have launched several missiles on Friday from the Golan Heights against positions near Damascus, part of a series of attacks over recent days, including early Tuesday.

“The Zionists are trying to target the resistance front, but the resistance will become stronger and more motivated,” said Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps spokesman Ramazan Sharif, according to the Tasnim News Agency.

“We will avenge the blood of martyrs Milad Heydari and Meqdad Meqdani,” he vowed, while thousands gathered in central Tehran to mourn them, chanting “down with Israel.”

“Follow their path,” Heydari’s mother told the large crowd at the funeral, urging them to ensure the victims’ blood was not spilled in vain.

The IRGC has threatened to avenge the incident, saying: “The Zionist regime will undoubtedly receive a response to this crime.”

Mourners attend the funeral procession for two of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces killed in Syria strikes blamed on Israel, held in Tehran on April 4, 2023 (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

As a general rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but it has acknowledged conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

Iran, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, claims it only deploys military advisers in the conflict-ravaged country.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, accused Israel of bringing “war and insecurity” to the Middle East and of “creating discord in the region.”

In an apparent reference to Israel’s recent political turmoil and mass protests against the hard-right government’s proposed judicial overhaul, he charged that there will be “no escape from internal collapse.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani holds a press conference in Tehran on July 13, 2022. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Israel’s security establishment and officials have issued several warnings that the government’s contentious efforts to weaken the judiciary have worsened the nation’s strategic position, highlighting the danger of the nation’s enemies identifying a weakness in the internal divisions caused by the overhaul.

The funerals were held hours after Syria was hit by strikes attributed to Israel for the fourth time in under a week. Syrian state media said two civilians were killed in the strike near Damascus.

The strike came a day after the Israeli Air Force said a drone downed in Israeli airspace was suspected to be Iranian.

Meanwhile, some Israeli media outlets reported unattributed assessments on Monday that the string of airstrikes in Syria could be linked to last month’s suspected Hezbollah terror bombing near Megiddo in northern Israel, which Jerusalem believes was carried out by a terrorist who crossed the Lebanon border fence using a ladder. One man was seriously wounded in the attack.

While many details of the investigation into the Megiddo bombing are barred from publication, the Haaretz news site cited a speculation that the series of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria could indicate that the IRGC was involved in the latest security incidents.

Emanuel Fabian and AP contributed to this report.

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