Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

DAMASCUS/GAZA STRIP: Tehran vowed to carry out revenge attacks against Israel on Saturday after a missile strike flattened a building used as a base of Iran‘s elite Revolutionary Guards in Damascus, killing five Guards and an unspecified number of Syrian troops. “The Islamic Republic will not leave the Zionist regime’s crimes unanswered,” reported Iran’s state broadcaster IRIB, quoting President Ebrahim Raisi.
Ambulances and fire trucks gathered around the site of the strike, which had been cordoned off, a Reuters journalist at the scene said. Rescue operations for people stuck under the rubble continued through the day. A crane was in place to hoist concrete slabs off the wreckage. A security source in a network of groups close to Syria’s government and its ally Iran told Reuters the multi-storey building was used by Iranian advisers supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s government. It was completely flattened by “precision-targeted Israeli missiles”.
The Guards said an unspecified number of members of the Syrian military were killed, along with the five Iranians, whom it identified without giving their ranks. The security source said one of the slain Iranians ran the elite force’s information unit.
The Syrian army said the building in the tightly guarded western Damascus neighbourhood of Mazzeh was entirely destroyed, adding that the Israeli air force fired the missiles while flying over Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Israeli military did not comment.
A few hours later, an Israeli drone strike on a car near the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre killed two Hezbollah members who were in the vehicle and two people who were in a nearby orchard, an official with the group and Lebanon state news agency said.
Health officials in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Saturday reported a surging death toll in fighting with Israel, whose leader Benjamin Netanyahu once again rejected calls for “Palestinian sovereignty” after the war. Gaza’s health ministry reported at least 165 people killed over the previous 24 hours –more than double Friday’s figure. An AFP correspondent reported gunfire, air strikes and tank shelling, especially in Khan Yunis city.

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