April 18, 2024

The airstrike in Syria killed Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016, according to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. It also killed Zahedi’s deputy, Gen. Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers.

Hezbollah said Tuesday that Zahedi played a crucial role in helping “develop and advance the work” of the group in Lebanon.

A Hezbollah member was also killed in Monday’s strike, bringing the overall death toll to eight. Hezbollah announced the death of Hussein Youssef on Tuesday but did not provide further details.

Hezbollah said in a statement: “This crime will certainly not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge.”

Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous, after visiting the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, said rescue workers are still searching for bodies under the rubble.

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza nearly six months ago, those proxies have stepped up attacks, leading to near daily cross-border exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel, and frequent Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping. Hamas, which rules Gaza and attacked Israel on October 7, is also backed by Iran.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges strikes against Iranian targets, said it had no comment on the latest attack in Syria, although a military spokesman blamed Iran for a drone attack early Monday against a naval base in southern Israel.

Israel has grown increasingly impatient with the daily exchanges of fire with Hezbollah, which have escalated in recent days, and warned of the possibility of a full-fledged war. Houthi rebels have also been launching long-range missiles toward Israel, including on Monday.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the country is in a war on multiple fronts “both offensively and defensively.”

Gallant said: “We see evidence of this every day, including over the last few days. We operate everywhere, every day, in order to prevent our enemies from gaining strength and in order to make it clear to anyone who acts against us – all over the Middle East – that the price for action against Israel will be a heavy one.”