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Israeli strike on Syria kills Iranian security guards

An Israeli missile strike on Syria’s capital Damascus has killed four members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, including the head of the force’s information unit in Syria, a security source in the regional pro-Syria alliance told Reuters.

In a statement carried on Iranian state television, the Revolutionary Guards confirmed that four of its military advisers were killed in the Israeli strike and said further details would be announced later.

State TV said the targeted building was the residence of Iranian advisers in Damascus.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which has long pursued a bombing campaign against Iran-linked targets in Syria. It has shifted to deadlier strikes in the wake of the 7 October attack on Israel by militants of the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza.

Syrian state media said a building in the Mazzeh neighbourhood of Damascus was targeted in a likely Israeli attack, without giving further details.

Other local media in Syria said explosions were heard across the Syrian capital.

The security source, part of a network of groups close to Syria’s government and its major ally Iran, said the multi-storey building was used by Iranian advisers supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s government, and that it was entirely flattened by “precision-targeted Israeli missiles”.

The source said a fifth person was also killed but could not immediately identify the nationality.

Essam Al-Amin, head of the Al-Mowasat Hospital in Damascus, told Reuters that his hospital had received one corpse and three wounded people, including a woman, following the attack.

A Reuters witness in Mazzeh saw ambulances and fire trucks gathered around the site of the strike, which had been cordoned off. Rescue operations for people stuck under the rubble were ongoing throughout the late morning.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad told Reuters that no members of their group were wounded in the strike, following reports that some were at the bombed-out building.

Israel responded to the shock Hamas assault on 7 October by launching a devastating air and ground war in Gaza with the aim of eradicating its ruling Islamist group.

The conflict has reverberated across the Middle East with violence surging in Syria, Lebanon, northern Iraq and in the Red Sea.

In December, an Israeli air strike killed two Guards members, and another near Damascus on 25 December killed a senior adviser to the Guards who was overseeing military coordination between Syria and Iran.

Iran and its military allies in Syria have entrenched themselves in wide areas of eastern, southern and northern Syria and in several suburbs around the capital.

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