Israeli strike kills IRGC official and 2 Hezbollah members in Syria — Iranian media

Local hospital officials say 7 people injured in blast near city of Baniyas; no comment from Israel

A building allegedly struck by Israel near the Syrian city of Baniyas on March 1, 2024, killing three people (social media)
A building allegedly struck by Israel near the Syrian city of Baniyas on March 1, 2024, killing three people (social media)

A member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards navy serving as a military adviser in Syria was killed in a suspected Israeli strike on Friday, Iran’s official news agency IRNA reported.

Other Iranian media reports said Reza Zarei was killed along with two members of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group.

The IRGC have scaled back deployment of their senior officers in Syria due to a spate of deadly Israeli strikes and were relying more on allied Shiite militia to preserve their sway there, Reuters reported in February.

Local media said the strike hit a villa on Syria’s coast, near the port city of Baniyas.

A local hospital speaking to Germany’s dpa news agency confirmed three deaths and seven injured in the attack.

Video purportedly from the scene showed people looking on at damaged and ruined buildings.

There was no comment from Syrian authorities.

There was also no statement from Israel, which rarely comments on individual strikes targeting Syria, but it has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran, which backs President Bashar Assad’s government, to expand its presence there.

Wednesday night saw Israeli strikes caused damage to sites near Damascus, Syria’s defense ministry said, in what appeared to be the latest attack in an intensified campaign against Iran-backed forces in the country.

“The Israeli enemy launched air strikes from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting a number of sites in the Damascus countryside,” the ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

It claimed that most missiles were shot down, a regular assertion on alleged Israeli strikes that analysts are generally skeptical of.

“The losses were limited to material,” Syria’s official SANA outlet reported.

An AFP correspondent in the Syrian capital heard explosions followed by the sirens of ambulances.

Pro-Iranian Lebanese television al Maydeen said a large explosion was heard in the heavily fortified Sayeda Zainab neighborhood of the Syrian capital, home to a major Shi’ite shrine. It gave no further details.

Regional intelligence sources say Iran’s Quds Force and the militias it backs, whose presence has spread in Syria in recent years, have a strong presence in the Sayeda Zainab neighborhood.

The neighborhood is in southern Damascus, where Iran-backed groups have a string of underground bases.

On Sunday, an Israeli strike on a truck in Syria near the Lebanese border killed two Hezbollah members, according to a source close to the Lebanese terror group.

A day later, Israel struck a site deep inside Lebanon, in the Baalbek region near the border with Syria, which is thought to be used as a major route for weapons transfers.

Most Popular
read more: