Israeli strikes near Syrian capital kill Iranian adviser
BEIRUT (AP) — Israeli airstrikes hit the suburbs of Syria’s capital city early Friday for the second day in a row, killing an Iranian adviser, the state media of Syria and Iran reported.
Loud explosions were heard over Damascus shortly after midnight Thursday, according to residents in the capital and the state news agency SANA. The airstrikes came after similar attacks early Thursday.
SANA said Syrian air defenses confronted “hostile targets,” adding that the strike caused material damage. SANA said some of the Israeli missiles were shot down by air defenses.
Iran’s state television reported Friday that Milad Heidari, an Iranian military adviser, was killed during what it called a “criminal strike” by Israel early Friday morning in Syria. Without giving Heidari’s rank, the report called him a “guard of Islam.” The outlet said he was a member of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard and warned Israel will receive an answer for the crime.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes targeted an arms depot for government forces and Iran-backed groups just south of Damascus.
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets inside government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, including attacks on the Damascus and Aleppo airports, but it rarely acknowledges specific operations.
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Israel says 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.
An Israeli airstrike last week targeting the airport in Aleppo put it out of commission for two days.
Israel has also struck seaports in government-held areas of Syria, in an apparent attempt to prevent Iranian arms shipments to militant groups backed by Tehran, including Hezbollah.