Syria: Two killed in Israeli strike, including ex bodyguard of Hezbollah leader Nasrallah

Syria: Two killed in Israeli strike, including ex bodyguard of Hezbollah leader Nasrallah
The Israeli strike in Syria targeting Hezbollah is the latest in the escalation of conflict in the region, in the backdrop of the war in Gaza.
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Israel has repeatedly targeted Hezbollah interests in both Lebanon, as well as Syria [Getty/file photo]

A war monitor said an Israeli strike on Tuesday in Syria killed two people, with a source close to Lebanon's Hezbollah saying a former bodyguard to the group's leader died in the raid.

Hezbollah and the Israeli army have been trading almost-daily fire since October in support of Gaza, with Israel targeting operatives from the group in both Lebanon and neighbouring Syria.

"At least two people were killed and one was wounded in an Israeli drone strike on a Hezbollah car" near a Syrian army checkpoint close to the border with Lebanon, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A source close to the Iran-backed group, requesting anonymity, told AFP that a former bodyguard to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was killed in the strike, identifying him by the surname of Qarnabash.

Hezbollah in a statement announced the death of a fighter with the same surname.

Since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in the country, mainly targeting army positions and Iran-backed fighters, including from Lebanon's Hezbollah.

The strikes intensified following the outbreak of Israel's war in Gaza which has killed over 38,000 Palestinians, before easing after an April 1 strike blamed on Israel hit the Iranian consular building in Damascus, sending regional tensions soaring.

Israeli strikes have killed at least 25 Hezbollah fighters in Syria since the Gaza war erupted, according to an AFP tally.

Last month, an Israeli strike targeted a convoy of tankers entering Lebanon from Syria, the Observatory had said, with Hezbollah announcing three dead and a source close to the group saying they were killed in east Lebanon's Hermel area.

Earlier Tuesday, the Syrian defence ministry said an Israeli strike caused damage but no casualties near the coastal city of Baniyas, with the Observatory saying Iranian military advisers were based in the area.

Israeli authorities rarely comment on individual strikes, but have repeatedly said they will not allow arch-enemy Iran to expand its presence in Syria.

Syria's war has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more since it erupted in 2011 after Damascus brutally cracked down on peaceful anti-government protests.

Nasrallah is due to give a televised speech Wednesday at an event for a commander killed in an Israeli strike in Lebanon earlier this month.

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