Iran’s Guard head vows revenge for Syria strike: Israel will ‘pay for the bloodshed’

Jerusalem ‘must wait for a response,’ Hossein Salami threatens after Iranian military adviser killed in alleged Israeli airstrike in Aleppo is laid to rest in Tehran

The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, attends a military parade as part of a ceremony marking the country's annual army day in Tehran, on April 17, 2024. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hossein Salami, attends a military parade as part of a ceremony marking the country's annual army day in Tehran, on April 17, 2024. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Hossein Salami on Wednesday threatened retaliation after an alleged Israeli strike killed an Iranian adviser in Aleppo, Syria, earlier this week.

In comments made the day after IRGC adviser Saeed Abyar was buried in Tehran, Salami was quoted by Iranian outlets warning that Israel would “pay for the bloodshed.”

According to The New York Times, Abyar was in the IRGC’s expeditionary Quds Force and had been stationed in Syria since 2012. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 16 other members of pro-Iran groups were killed in the strike, which the war monitor attributed to Israel, “including Syrian and foreign fighters.”

“Israel must wait for a response to the killing of Iranian military adviser Saeed Aviar in Syria,” Salami was quoted as saying by Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency.

In April, Iran launched some 300 missiles and drones at Israel, almost all of which were downed by Israeli and allied air defenses, after an alleged Israeli strike killed a top IRGC general and several senior officers in Damascus.

“The actions of the martyred will inspire the fighters of the coming generations,” Salami added, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency.

A display showing killed Iranian military figures and allied Lebanese and Palestinian terrorists next to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque is set up as the Iranian embassy in Beirut receives condolences for the death of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria, and six other IRGC members, April 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

There was no comment on the strike from Israel, which has carried out hundreds of strikes inside Syria since the outbreak of that country’s civil war, mainly targeting attempts to transfer weapons to the Hezbollah terror group, an Iranian proxy, or to keep Iranian fighters themselves from gaining a foothold near Israel’s border.

Aleppo sits on the opposite side of Syria from Israel, and is further than most previous attacks attributed to the Jewish state, though Jerusalem is thought to have ordered strikes in the region before.

The previous alleged Israeli strike in Syria occurred on May 29 — an attack that was blamed for the death of a girl in the coastal city of Baniyas. According to the observatory, three Hezbollah members nearby were also killed in a concurrent strike. It blamed shrapnel from the Syrian interception of an Israeli missile for the girl’s death.

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 29, 2024 shows damage caused inside an apartment in the coastal city of Baniyas, following what Syria’s defense ministry said was an Israeli air strike. (SANA/AFP)

Alleged Israeli strikes ramped up after war in Gaza erupted following the Iran-backed Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 251 hostages amid acts of brutality and sexual assault.

But the Observatory said they slowed after the deadly April 1 strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, blamed on Israel, that sent regional tensions skyrocketing and triggered Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel.

Since the day after the Hamas attack on southern Israel, Hezbollah-led forces in Lebanon have been attacking Israeli communities and military posts along the border in the north on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

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