Iran Vows Retribution for Israeli Strike Killing 5 Guards in Damascus

Tehran vowed to carry out revenge attacks against Israel on Saturday after a missile strike flattened a building used as a base of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards in Damascus. Five Guards and an unspecified number of Syrian troops were killed in the strike. Ambulances and fire trucks gathered around the site which was cordoned off. A crane was in place to hoist concrete slabs off the wreckage.

A security source said the multi-story building was used by Iranian advisers supporting President Bashar al-Assad’s government. It was completely flattened by precision-targeted Israeli missiles. The Guards said an unspecified number of members of the Syrian military were killed, along with the five Iranians, whom it identified without giving their ranks. There was no comment from Israel.

It has killed Iranian Guards in several such strikes in a stepped-up campaign in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by militants of the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza. The strike was a “desperate attempt to spread instability in the region,” said Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani in remarks reported by state media.

Syrian state media reported an Israeli attack on a building in the Mazzeh neighborhood of Damascus and said Syrian air defenses had shot down a number of missiles. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed Palestinian faction present in Syria and Lebanon, condemned the air strike but told Reuters that none of its members were wounded, dismissing reports that some were at the bombed-out building.

In December, an Israeli air strike killed two Guards members, and another near Damascus on Dec. 25 killed a senior adviser to the Guards who was overseeing military coordination between Syria and Iran. Israel responded to the Hamas assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7 by unleashing a devastating air and ground war in Gaza. In Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah as well as local wings of Palestinian militant groups have fired rockets across the border at Israel in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.