Iran: Israel killed top IRGC missile expert in Syria, vows revenge

Colonel Davoud Jafari, affiliated with IRGC Aerospace Force, was said to have been killed in a roadside bombing near Damascus.

 Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and military commanders watch as military equipment passes by during a ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Iran April 18, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and military commanders watch as military equipment passes by during a ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran, Iran April 18, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

A top Iranian military officer and missile expert was killed by a roadside bombing near Damascus, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp said on Wednesday morning.

The IRGC claimed that Israel was behind the explosion, saying that it will respond to the attack. The statement said the “criminal and fake” Zionist regime would suffer a response for the "atrocity".

The officer was identified as Col. Davoud Jafari who had served as an adviser of the IRGC Aerospace Force in Syria, according to the Tasnim News Agency.

According to Tasnim, Jafari was among one of the IRGC officials responsible for the seizure of two US Navy command boats carrying 10 US personnel in the Persian Gulf in January 2016.

In the incident, photos were taken of the US personnel kneeling with their hands behind their heads. After the incident, Jafari and other IRGC officials met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to receive a medal for the seizure.

On Sunday, an Israeli delegation led by Israel’s National Security Adviser Dr. Eyal Hulata visited US 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. Independent Israeli intelligence analyst Ronen Solomon, who runs the Intelli Times blog, noted that surveillance footage of Iranian naval vessels could be seen on screens in photos from the visit.

Solomon noted that assassination coming so soon after Hulata's visit, as well as Jafari's role in the seizure of US vessels, could indicate that the roadside bomb was placed in a joint Israeli-American mission.

Israel's alleged operations in Syria against Iran

Iranian officers and military forces have been stationed in Syria for a number of years. Initially, Iran sent forces there to assist Bashar Assad in quelling the uprising against his regime but the Iranian troops have remained as part of an IRGC effort to establish bases from which they can threaten and attack Israel. 

As a result, Israel repeatedly strikes the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, although in most cases does not take responsibility. On November 8, for example, 25 Iranian-backed militants were reportedly killed and 10 others were wounded, in an attack that Lebanese media claimed Israel committed. The attack targeted Iranian fuel shipments headed to Lebanon

 A ROAD is decorated with banners depicting Syria’s President Bashar Assad, and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Lebanese village al-Ain, close to the border with Syria. (credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS) A ROAD is decorated with banners depicting Syria’s President Bashar Assad, and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the Lebanese village al-Ain, close to the border with Syria. (credit: AZIZ TAHER/REUTERS)

The IDF has been engaging in a continued campaign to disrupt Iran's activities in Syria, in what some army officials have defined as the war-between-the-wars strategy. The campaign aims to disrupt Iran's aspirations of regional hegemony, as well as to prevent Tehran from placing its proxies within Syria.