Israeli airstrike kills two people in Damascus: Syrian state media

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An Israeli airstrike hit a residential building in the Kafr Sousa district in Syria’s capital Damascus on Wednesday, killing two people, Syrian state media and a security source said.

A military source cited by Syrian state TV said the strike at about 9:40 a.m. (0640 GMT) wounded a number of other people, identifying the dead as civilians.

Images published by Syrian state media showed the charred side of a multi-story building. The security source said the “attack did not achieve its aims.”

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The neighborhood hosts residential buildings, schools and Iranian cultural centers, and lies near a large, heavily-guarded complex used by security agencies. The district was struck in an Israeli attack in February 2023 that killed Iranian military experts.

Witnesses heard several back-to-back explosions. The blasts scared children at a nearby school and ambulances rushed to the area, the witnesses told Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

Iran’s semi-official Student News Network said no Iranian citizens were killed in the strike.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Reuters witness heard another large blast in the capital that shook the windows of homes. Local Syrian outlet Sham FM said several explosions were heard in the capital without specifying the cause.

Iran has been a major backer of President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s nearly 12-year-old conflict. Its support for Damascus and the Lebanese group Hezbollah has drawn regular Israeli airstrikes meant to curb Tehran’s extraterritorial military power.

Those strikes have ramped up in line with flaring regional tensions since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, with more than half a dozen Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers killed in suspected Israeli strikes on Syria since December.

As a result, the IRGC has scaled back deployment of its senior officers in Syria and has planned to rely more on allied Shia militias to preserve its sway there, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month.

Iran, a backer of Hamas, has sought to stay out of the conflict itself even as it supports groups that have entered the fray from Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria - the so-called “Axis of Resistance” that is hostile to Israeli and US interests.

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