Hezbollah rocket commander killed by Israel in retaliatory strikes on Syria and Lebanon

Israel launched a series of devastating attacks in Aleppo province in northern Syria on Friday, marking its most lethal strikes in months. In an additional blow to Iran’s proxies, Israeli forces also claimed to have eliminated a high-ranking Hezbollah commander in Lebanon. These aggressive actions further underscore Israel’s intensified offensive against its adversaries, coinciding with its ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Israel has increased its airstrikes in Syria targeting both the Lebanese Hezbollah militia and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. These airstrikes have intensified following the October 7th attack on Israel by the Iranian-backed Hamas. In recent days, Israeli pilots have resumed regular training for conducting “deep” raids into Lebanon.

Tehran and its proxies have established strong positions throughout Syria, including in areas surrounding Aleppo and the capital, Damascus.

The Israeli military announced on Friday that it had carried out an airstrike in Lebanon’s Bazouriye area, resulting in the death of Ali Abed Akhsan Naim. Naim was the deputy commander of Hezbollah’s rocket and missiles unit.

According to Israel, the commander who was killed was a key leader of the Iranian-backed militia involved in launching heavy-warhead rockets. Israel also holds him accountable for orchestrating and carrying out attacks targeting Israeli civilians.

Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in a fierce exchange of fire along Lebanon’s southern border. This escalation marks the most significant confrontation between the two since their month-long war in 2006. Hezbollah, in a show of solidarity with Hamas, has launched numerous rocket attacks into Israel.

In northern Israel, around twelve Israeli troops and six civilians have lost their lives, while in southern Lebanon, nearly 270 Hezbollah fighters and fifty civilians, including medics, civilians, and journalists, have been killed in Israeli strikes.

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Israel has launched multiple attacks on international airports in Damascus and Aleppo in order to disrupt the flow of weapons to Iran’s regional allies. However, the recent strikes, which have been occurring since October 7th, have been more lethal. As a result, Iran has made the decision to withdraw some of its highest-ranking officers from Syria.

According to the Syrian defence ministry, a series of Israeli airstrikes occurred in the southeastern region of Aleppo province at approximately 1:45 a.m. local time. The strikes resulted in the loss of civilian lives as well as casualties among military personnel.

The ministry stated that the airstrikes were conducted simultaneously with drone attacks launched from Idlib and western rural Aleppo. According to the ministry, these drone attacks were carried out by “terrorist organizations” and targeted civilians in Aleppo and its surrounding areas.

The Israeli military has chosen not to provide any comment on the matter. However, in a recent statement made by Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani on X, he accused Israel of carrying out attacks on Syria as a “blatant and desperate attempt” to escalate the conflict. It is unclear at this time whether there were any Iranian casualties as a result of these attacks.

According to three security sources, the airstrikes resulted in the deaths of 33 Syrians and five Hezbollah fighters. Among the Hezbollah fighters was a local field commander, whose brother had previously been killed in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon in November, as stated by one of the sources.

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The Israeli strikes on Syria on that day marked the deadliest incident since October 7th, with the highest number of casualties.

Clashes continue on Israel-Lebanon border

According to sources in Lebanon, a Hezbollah fighter was killed on Friday in a southern Lebanon strike carried out by Israel.

In February, Esmail Qaani, the head of the Iranian Republican Guards Corps’ Quds Force, had a meeting with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. The purpose of their meeting was to discuss the potential threat posed by a full-scale offensive from Israel against Hezbollah. During the meeting, Qaani received an assurance from Nasrallah that Hezbollah had no intention of involving Iran in a war with Israel.

Hezbollah has expressed its willingness to cease firing into Israel if a ceasefire is achieved in Gaza. Nonetheless, Israeli and U.S. officials have made it clear that a ceasefire in Gaza would not necessarily apply to Lebanon.

According to the military, Israeli Air Force pilots have intensified their training in long-range strikes along the northern border. These training activities have resumed in recent weeks after being suspended at the beginning of the Gaza war.

According to a statement, the training program aims to enhance the readiness of the IAF for war in the northern arena and other areas during prolonged combat.

According to the statement, the drills involve practicing “massive, long-range strikes, flying deep into enemy territory.”

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