Iranian Guards Adviser Killed in Israeli Strike on Damascus

 – An Iranian Revolutionary Guards adviser in Damascus was killed on Friday in an Israeli missile strike that targeted a southern district of the Syrian capital, semi-official Iranian news sites reported.

Earlier, Syria’s state news agency SANA, citing a Syrian military source, said the country’s military had downed a number of Israeli missiles launched from the Golan Heights at southern Damascus.

The Iranian news sites identified the dead man as Saeid Alidadi. They did not give his rank.

Asked about the strikes, Israel’s military said it did not comment on reports in foreign media.

Israel has for years carried out attacks on what it has described as Iran-linked targets in Syria, where Tehran’s influence has grown since it began supporting President Bashar al-Assad in a civil war that started in 2011.

Since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas from Gaza, Israel has escalated its strikes on Iranian-backed militia targets in Syria and has also struck Syrian army air defences and some Syrian forces.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have started scaling back deployment of their senior officers in Syria due to concerns about Tehran being sucked into a wider regional conflict, sources have told Reuters.

The Guards will instead rely more on allied Shi’ite militia to preserve their sway there, the sources said.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi told a crowd on Friday that his country would not start a war in the region but would “respond strongly” to anyone who tried to bully it.

Raisi’s comments came after days of speculation about how Washington might retaliate after three U.S. soldiers were killed last Saturday in a strike on their base in Jordan by an Iranian-backed group.

CBS News, citing U.S. officials, reported on Thursday that the United States had approved plans for multi-day strikes in Iraq and Syria against multiple targets, including Iranian personnel and facilities in those countries.

(Reporting by Jana Choukeir; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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