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5 IRGC members killed in Israel strike on Syria's Damascus

Five IRGC members killed in Israel strike on building in Syria’s Damascus
3 min read
Israel has struck a 'residential building' in Damascus, leading to the death of several people, including five members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.
The strike targeted a residential building in the city's Mazzeh neighbourhood [Getty]

An Israeli strike on Damascus killed several people in a building where "Iran-aligned leaders" were meeting on Saturday, a war monitor said, as regional tensions soar over Israel's war on Gaza.

After reporting the death of four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members on Saturday, the IRGC later in the day said a fifth member of the elite force had died after being wounded in the Israeli strike.

A Guards statement said Mohammad Amin Samadi "fell as a martyr after being among those wounded in today's Zionist terrorist crime in Damascus".

The dead include a senior figure in the organisation's information unit. The strikes constitute yet another ratcheting up of tensions, with fears of Israel's aggression leading to regional war

"An Israeli missile strike targeted a four-storey building, killing five people... and destroying the whole building where Iran-aligned leaders were meeting," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The British-based monitor with a network of sources inside Syria said the targeted neighbourhood is known to be a high-security zone home to leaders of the IRGC.

The mid-morning strike, which caused a large plume of smoke to billow into the sky, was also reported by Syrian state media.

"An attack targeted a residential building in the Mazzeh neighbourhood in Damascus, resulting from an Israeli aggression," the official SANA news agency reported. It did not say if there were any casualties.

An AFP correspondent at the scene said the destroyed building was cordoned off with ambulances, firefighters and Syrian Arab Red Crescent rescue teams all present at the site.

Civil defence were busy searching for survivors under the rubble of the totally collapsed building, he said.

The Mazzeh area is also home to the United Nations' headquarters, embassies and restaurants.

"I heard the explosion clearly in the western Mazzeh area, and I saw a large cloud of smoke," a resident told AFP.

"The sound was similar to a missile explosion, and minutes later I heard the sound of ambulances," he added.

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During more than a decade of civil war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on its territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces as well as Assad regime positions.

But it has intensified attacks since Israel began its indiscriminate war on Gaza, in which almost 25,000 Palestinians have been killed.

In December, an Israeli air strike killed a senior general with the IRGC, the military force said.

Razi Moussavi was the most senior commander of the Guards' foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, to be killed outside Iran since a US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, 2020 killed the Force's commander, Qassem Soleimani.

In the same month, air strikes in eastern Syria, "likely" carried out by Israel, killed at least 23 pro-Iran fighters, the Observatory said at the time, reporting four more dead in the country's north.