Iran says senior IRGC commander killed in Israeli strike in Syria, vows revenge

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Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that an Israeli strike in Syria killed one of its senior commanders on Monday, vowing to retaliate and make Israel “pay.”

In a statement, the IRGC said Brig. Gen. Seyed Razi Mousavi, a “senior IRGC advisor in Syria,” was killed in an Israeli “missile attack” in Damascus.

Israel “will undoubtedly pay for this crime,” the statement said.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that Mousavi’s killing was a sign of Israel’s “frustration, helplessness and incapacity,” adding that Israel “will certainly pay for this crime.”

Mousavi was in charge of providing “logistical support to the axis of resistance in Syria,” the IRGC statement said, referring to a network of regional militant groups supported by Iran, including the Palestinian group Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, various militias in Iraq and Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen.

The statement added that Mousavi was a “companion” of slain IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, the former head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the IRGC. Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq in 2020.

This undated handout picture released by Iran’s Tasnim news agency on December 25, 2023 shows senior IRGC commander Razi Mousavi sitting in an undisclosed location alongside the former commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Qasem Soleimani. (AFP)
This undated handout picture released by Iran’s Tasnim news agency on December 25, 2023 shows senior IRGC commander Razi Mousavi sitting in an undisclosed location alongside the former commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force Qasem Soleimani. (AFP)

Iranian state news agency IRNA described Mousavi as one of the Quds Force’s most experienced advisors. It said he was killed in an Israeli attack in Sayyida Zeinab south of Damascus.

In recent years, Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes against both Iranian-backed groups and Syrian military forces inside Syria.

Iran, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, has played a key role in the Syrian conflict since its beginning in 2011, dispatching thousands of Iranian and foreign fighters to back the Syrian regime.

Mousavi’s death in Syria comes amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in retaliation for its October 7 attacks. Israeli officials say the attacks killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and around 240 people were taken hostage.

Israel’s air and ground campaign has killed more than 20,000 people in Gaza, according to health authorities in the Palestinian territory.

Iran, a key source of financial and military support for Hamas, praised the October 7 attacks while denying any involvement in its planning or execution.

Tehran refuses to recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a fundamental component of its foreign policy since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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