Iran accuses Israel of killing military official Sayyed Mousavi

Iran accuses Israel of killing military official Sayyed Mousavi

Iran accused Israel on Monday of killing a senior military official in a missile strike in Syria, at a time of growing fears that the war in Gaza could escalate into a regional conflict.

The murdered Iranian was identified as Brig. General Sayyed Razi Mousavi, senior advisor to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He reportedly helped oversee the shipment of missiles and other weapons to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed military force in Lebanon and Syria that is a frequent adversary of Israel.

Israel, taking its usual stance, declined to comment directly on the accusations, but Israeli officials acknowledged they were preparing for the prospect of Iranian retaliation.

Israel is already fighting a major war in Gaza and skirmishing with Hezbollah fighters on its northern border with Lebanon. And on the Red Sea, in response to the conflict in Gaza, Yemen-based Houthi forces – also backed by Iran – have widened the conflict by targeting shipping.

In confirming the assassination of General Mousavi, on a farm outside Damascus, Hezbollah described him as a “dear brother”. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said Israel would “undoubtedly pay for this crime.” Various media outlets reported that he was killed on Monday.

Although Israeli officials refused to say who was behind the killing, they confirmed that the general was dead.

“I am not referring to this or that operation in the Middle East reported by non-Israeli media,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said. chief spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces. “The Israeli army of course has a role to play: to protect and safeguard the security interests of the State of Israel. »

As Iran and Hezbollah blame Israel, the Israeli armed forces were put on alert on Sunday, a military official said. The army, the official said, expects the possible use of rockets or drones launched from Syria and Lebanon towards Israel.

And more road closures were expected in northern Israel, where some roads had already been closed due to fighting with Hezbollah.

General Mousavi was described as having been a close associate of Major General Qassim Suleimani, a popular Iranian security intelligence commander who was killed by a US strike in Baghdad in 2020. In announcing General Mousavi’s death, Fars posted a photo of him and General Suleimani posing nearby.

Viviane Yee And Hwaida Saad reports contributed.

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Eric D. Eilerman

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