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Syria: Israeli strikes on Damascus kill Iranian military officer

This is the second reported Israeli attack on Damascus in two days, following strikes on Aleppo airport in early March
The Israeli military has struck Syria hundreds of times in the last few years (AFP/file photo)

Israeli missile strikes near Damascus early on Friday killed an officer from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Iranian media.

At least three huge explosions were heard in the Syrian capital on Thursday night, according to eyewitness reports.

The Syrian state news agency, Sana, said that Israel had "launched an aerial aggression" on the Damascus countryside.

Citing a military source, it reported that Syrian air defence systems intercepted and shot down a number of missiles that were targeting an arms depot held by Syrian government forces and Iran-backed groups.

The IRGC public relations department said in a statement that its officer Milad Heidari was working as a military adviser in Syria.

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The statement also condemned continued international silence regarding Israeli strikes on Syria and vowed that the IRGC would respond to the killing of one of its own.

The latest attack is the second in two days. On Thursday, a number of missiles targeting the Syrian capital were reportedly launched from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, in an attack that wounded two soldiers.

Earlier this month the Israeli military attacked Aleppo international airport twice. 

Aleppo’s airport has been frequently used for aid deliveries to earthquake-hit zones in northern Syria. The earthquakes that struck Turkey on 6 February left more than 50,000 dead, including around 6,000 in Syria, sparking a humanitarian crisis.

The Israeli military has made no comment following the latest attacks, a stance it has normally maintained following previous assaults on Syria. 

In recent years pro-Iranian militias have expanded their influence in Syria's northern Aleppo province. 

Israel has conducted hundreds of air strikes in Syria since 2011, targeting government troops, Iran-backed fighters and Hezbollah. However, attacks targeting airports and paralysing aviation have become more frequent in recent months.

At the start of this year, the Israeli military attacked Damascus international airport, putting it temporarily out of service and killing two Syrian soldiers.

Last month, at least five people were killed when suspected Israeli air strikes hit residential neighbourhoods and other locations in Damascus.

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