Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei leading a funeral prayer for the Revolutionary Guards who were killed in an Israeli attack on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus, April 4, 2024

Suspected Israeli Strikes Killed 18 IRGC Commanders, Advisers Since October 7

Thursday, 04/04/2024

The Financial Times reported that suspected Israeli strikes have claimed the lives of 18 IRGC commanders and advisers since the Gaza war broke out on October 7.

According to the report, all of the slain IRGC forces were targeted in Syria, with 16 in Damascus, one in Deir ez-Zor and one in Baniyas.

Since the Gaza war broke out, Iran’s proxies have attacked Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and attacked US targets in the region as punishment for the US backing of Israel’s right to defend itself in the wake of October 7. In the most deadly day for Jews since the holocaust, over 1,200 mostly civilians were murdered and over 250 taken hostage.

Israel’s Monday attacks against Iran's consulate building in Damascus have been the deadliest since the inception of the ongoing conflict in the region, killing seven IRGC forces, including two top commanders.

The most prominent figure killed in the recent attacks was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the highest-ranking commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force (IRGC-QF) in Lebanon and Syria. Qods Force is the IRGC’s overseas branch coordinating proxy activities.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (right) and IRGC Quds force general Mohammad Reza Zahedi

Zahedi, 63, joined the basij militias as a teenager and became involved in suppressing protesters. He was a mid-level commander during the Iran-Iraq war and was known by the pseudonym Ali Zahedi. In the mid-2000s, he went to Lebanon where he quickly established a strong network within Hezbollah, to the point he became “the only non-Lebanese member of the group’s council,” Amwaj Media reported.

Zahedi was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as the commander of the IRGC ground forces in 2006. He was later transferred to the IRGC Qods Force. According to his son, Zahedi had not returned to Iran since the start of the Gaza war, sparked by Iran-backed Hamas’s invasion of Israel, and only recently spent a few days in the country on the occasion of Nowruz, Iranian New Year.

The second most important person killed in Israel’s Monday strike was Zahedi’s deputy Mohammadhadi Haji Rahimi. Iranian media have called him the deputy coordinator of the IRGC Qods Force. According to reports, he had been a member of the Quds Force since it was formed and was one of its first commanders. Like Zahedi, Haji Rahimi was also a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war and participated in other regional wars in which Iran was involved in some way.

Hossein Amanollahi, Mehdi Jalalati, Mohsen Sedaghat, Ali Agha-Babaei, and Ali Salehi Rouzbahani were the other five members of the IRGC Quds Force who lost their lives in Israel’s Monday strikes.

In the past few months, two other high-ranking IRGC commanders were killed in suspected Israeli attacks in Syria: Razi Moussavi and Hojjatollah Omidvar.

Razi Mousavi (aka Seyyed Razi) was targeted by a direct airstrike on December 25. He headed IRGC’s ‘logistics’ and military coordination in Syria, getting weapons for and coordinating Iran-backed forces in Syria and Lebanon.

On January 20, a building in Damascus’s Mazzeh neighborhood was struck in an attack which claimed the life of Hojjatollah Omidvar (also known as Hajj Sadegh), a senior IRGC commander. He served as the deputy intelligence chief of Qods Force in Syria. Four other IRGC officers were also killed in the strike: Ali Aghazadeh, Saeed Karimi, Mohammad Amin Samadi and Hossein Mohammadi.

Among other IRGC victims of the alleged Israeli attacks are Behrouz Vahedi (targeted in Deir ez-Zor, March 26), Reza Zarei (targeted in Baniyas, March 1), Saeed Alidadi (targeted in south of Damascus, February 2), and Mohammadali Ataei Shourcheh and Panah Taghizadeh (both targeted in Damascus, December 2). The Iranian media have described them as “military advisers.”

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