Iran International sources have provided further information about the newly intensified Israeli attacks on the targets affiliated with the Islamic Republic in Syria.
According to the sources, the attacks on March 30 and 31 hit intelligence centers operated by Iran and Lebanese militant outfit Hezbollah in cooperation with the Syrian government forces in the al-Mazzah municipal district in the capital Damascus and the attack on April 4 targeted Al-Qusayr airport near the Lebanese border.
Vowing revenge, the Islamic Republic has admitted that two IRGC “military advisors” -- namely Meqdad Meqdani (Meghdad Meghdani) and Milad Haydari – were killed in the late March attacks. According to the sources, the attacks seemed to be Israel's response to a foiled terrorist attack a week ago in the Megiddo area inside Israel by a person who, according to Israel, was sent by Lebanon's Hezbollah.
A view shows a border wall between Lebanon and Israel as seen from the Lebanese town of Marwahin, southern Lebanon, April 6, 2023.
The sources added that both Meqdani and Haydari were IRGC intelligence officers in Syria, noting that a group of senior members of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, including former head of the body Hossein Taeb, visited the bereaved families of the two “martyrs” in the past few days.
Iran usually does not report the extent of its casualties in Syria and some observers say that acknowledging the deaths of two IRGC personnel can mean that Tehran wanted to lay the ground for retaliation. Iran International sources are of the opinion that the IRGC forces are planning an imminent attack inside Israel with the help of Hezbollah forces.
On Thursday, dozens of rockets were fired into Israeli territory from Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon, where several displacement camps hosting Palestinian refugees and armed factions are located.
According to Israeli-based news channel i24NEWS, Hezbollah has told Lebanese media that Palestinian groups were behind the rocket attacks.
Three security sources also told Reuters that Palestinian factions based in Lebanon were behind the rocket attacks on Thursday afternoon across the disputed border into Israel.
The Israeli military is still assessing the situation following Thursday's rocket strikes from Lebanon but is working on the assumption that Palestinian factions were behind the attacks, a defense official said. The Israeli military said 34 rockets were launched from Lebanon on Thursday, of which 25 were intercepted by its Iron Dome anti-missile system.
A damaged building of a bank is seen following incoming rockets from Lebanon to Israel in Shlomi, northern Israel April 6, 2023.
In response to the volley of rockets fired from Lebanon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to hit back hard, saying "As for the aggression aimed at us from other fronts - we will hit our enemies and they will pay a price for every act of aggression." Hours after his threat, powerful Israeli airstrikes rocked Gaza strip after midnight on Friday.
Iran has considerable drone capabilities that it has used against US bases in Syria as recently as last month, killing a US contractor and injuring at least eight US servicemen.
Tensions rose in Syria when on March 23 Iranian backed forces attacked a US base with a drone, inflicting casualties. The US responded with an air strike, which was followed by more attacks on US forces. The tit-for-tat strikes stopped after two days, but Iran has targeted US forces in Iraq and Syria 80 times since early 2021 when the Biden administration assumed office.
Israel has been regularly attacking targets in Syria since 2017 to weaken Iran's attempts to strengthen its military presence in the war-torn country and build up a threat on Israel's northern borders.