March 1st, 2024

A reported Israeli airstrike on Syria destroys a building used by Iranian paramilitary officials

By Alberte Aji And Bassem Mroue, The Associated Press on January 20, 2024.

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) – An Israeli strike on the Syrian capital, Damascus, destroyed Saturday a building used by Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard killing and wounding 10 people, state media outlets and an official with an Iran-backed group said.

An opposition war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least five people were killed in the missile attack that struck when officials from Iran-backed groups were holding a meeting.

State-TV reported that the “Israeli aggression” targeted a residential building in the tightly guarded western Damascus neighborhood of Mazzeh, home to several diplomatic missions, including the Lebanese and Iranian embassies.

An official with an Iran-backed group in the Middle East told The Associated Press that the building was used by Revolutionary Guard officials, adding that the “Israeli missiles” destroyed the whole building and that 10 were either killed or wounded in the attack.

The strike came amid widening tensions in the region and the Israeli offensive on Gaza that has killed thousands.

Last month, an Israeli airstrike on a suburb of Damascus killed Iranian general Seyed Razi Mousavi, a longtime adviser of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Syria. Israel has also targeted Palestinian and Lebanese operatives in Syria over the past years.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of war-torn Syria in recent years.

Israel rarely acknowledges its actions in Syria, but it has said that it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups, such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Earlier this month, a strike said to be carried out by Israel killed top Hamas commander Saleh Arouri in Beirut.

Over the past weeks, rockets have been fired from Syria into northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, adding to tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border and attacks on ships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

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Mroue reported from Beirut.

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