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Israeli strike in Syria kills Iran guard, two others — reports

By AFP - Mar 02,2024 - Last updated at Mar 02,2024

BEIRUT — An Israeli strike in Syria on Friday killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard and two other people, reports said, in the third consecutive day of Israeli attacks on Syria.

Three violent explosions shook the centre of Banias, on Syria's Mediterranean coast, during the dawn strike on a villa that sheltered "a group affiliated with Iran", said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

A building was destroyed, killing the Iranian and two other non-Syrians who were with him, said the Britain-based observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

Iran's official news agency IRNA later said Reza Zarei, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' navy, had been "killed at dawn today by the usurping Zionist regime".

The government-controlled city of Banias is home to an oil refinery with Iranian tankers docking at its port.

On Thursday, Israel killed a Hizbollah fighter in a strike on Syria, close to the Lebanese border, the observatory said, hours after similar attacks.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on targets in Syria since civil war broke out in 2011. The strikes have mainly targeted Iran-backed forces including fighters from Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement as well as Syrian army positions.

Iran is a key political, military and financial backer of the Assad government, and has sent military advisers and volunteers to bolster its forces.

Tehran says it has deployed forces in Syria at the invitation of Damascus, but only as advisers.

The strikes have increased since Israel’s war with Palestinian militant group Hamas began on October 7.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes but has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to expand its presence in Syria. Iran backs Assad’s government and Hizbollah, which supports Hamas.

Syria’s war has claimed the lives of more than half-a-million people and displaced millions since it broke out in March 2011 with Damascus’s brutal repression of anti-government protests.


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