Israeli airstrike eliminates key Iranian general in Syria

Israel killed Razi Mousavi, a senior officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, in an airstrike in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Dec. 25. Mousavi is the third IRGC official confirmed killed in an airstrike in Syria since Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Mousavi was “a veteran advisor of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps,” according to IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, which confirmed his death.

Mousavi was a key interlocutor between Iran and the Syrian regime, a U.S. intelligence official who wishes to remain anonymous told FDD’s Long War Journal. Mousavi also facilitated the transfer of weapons from Iran to Syria, which were then sent to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In a message to the people of Iran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi mourned Mousavi’s death and described him as “a brave and courageous person who was among the companions of the assassinated general Qassem Soleimani.”

Soleimani was the commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, Iran’s external operation unit that supports Iranian proxies in the Middle East. The U.S. killed Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the former head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces and the founder of Hezbollah Brigades, in an airstrike in Baghdad in 2020. Soleimani and Mousavi have been photographed together before the U.S. killed Soleimani.

“Seyyed Razi was martyred while serving as an advisor for the resistance front, defending holy shrines in Syria as well as safeguarding Islamic ideals,” IRNA reported.

Raisi and other senior Iranian officials, including Iran’s Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Defense Ministry Spokesman Brigadier General Reza Talaei-Nik, vowed to avenge the assassination of Mousavi.

On Dec. 2, Israeli airstrikes killed two IRGC officers on the outskirts of Damascus. The officers were identified as Mohammed Ali Ataei Shoorcheh and Panah Taghizadeh, who were in Syria on an “advisory mission,” according to an IRGC statement.

Israel has targeted key IRGC officers such as Mousavi as it prepares for war with Hezbollah, and potentially with Iranian-backed Iraqi and Syrian militias. Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terror groups have launched a handful of attacks on northern Israel daily. Still, Israel is putting off a conflict with Hezbollah as it focuses on rooting out Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Joe Truzman is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah. Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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