Syria: Second IRGC member dies after Israeli air strikes near Damascus
A second member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has died by an Israeli air strike in Syria this week, according to Iranian media, as Israel continues to strike targets in the country for a third time in recent days.
Meqdad Mehghani Jafarabadi, a military adviser to the IRGC, died after sustaining wounds from a strike near Damascus on Friday, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Sunday.
"Jafarabadi, a member of the Revolutionary Guards, was wounded in a criminal attack of the Zionist regime on Friday and was martyred due to the severity of his injuries," the IRGC said in a statement.
"The crimes of the Zionist regime will not go unanswered and they will pay for this."
At least five Syrian soldiers were wounded by a separate Israeli air strike near the western city of Homs early on Sunday, the Syrian state news agency SANA said.
The strike targeted pro-Iran and Syrian government positions in the city, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Israel launched "an aerial aggression from the direction of northwest Beirut targeting some outposts in Homs city and its countryside", the Syrian defence ministry said in a statement.
It came after Israeli air strikes targeted Damascus on 30 and 31 March, the latter of which killed IRGC officer Milad Heidari, according to the group's public relations department.
Following the latest strikes on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet in televised remarks that Israel was "exacting a heavy price from terrorist-supporting regimes" outside of its borders.
Earlier this month the Israeli military attacked Aleppo International Airport twice.
Aleppo's airport has been frequently used for aid deliveries to earthquake-hit zones in northern Syria. The earthquakes that struck Turkey on 6 February left more than 50,000 dead, including around 6,000 in Syria, sparking a humanitarian crisis.
The Israeli military has made no comment following the latest attacks, a stance it has normally maintained following previous assaults on Syria.
In recent years, pro-Iranian militias have expanded their influence in Syria's northern Aleppo province.
Tehran, which has long supported Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the ongoing civil war, says its officers serve in advisory roles in Syria at the invitation of Damascus.
Israel has conducted hundreds of air strikes in Syria since 2011, targeting government troops, Iran-backed fighters and Hezbollah. However, attacks targeting airports and paralysing aviation have become more frequent in recent months.
At the start of this year, the Israeli military attacked Damascus International Airport, putting it temporarily out of service and killing two Syrian soldiers.
Last month, at least five people were killed when suspected Israeli air strikes hit residential neighbourhoods and other locations in Damascus.