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Airstrikes in Syria Kill Iranian Adviser and Member of WHO Team

A damaged building is seen following an airstrike in Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour, March 26, 2024.
A damaged building is seen following an airstrike in Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour, March 26, 2024.

A series of airstrikes in eastern Syria on Tuesday killed more than a dozen people, including an Iranian military adviser and a team member working for the World Health Organization, officials and reports said.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the airstrikes in Syria's eastern province of Deir el-Zour that borders Iraq.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strikes killed 15 people, including an Iranian adviser with Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, two of his bodyguards, as well as nine Iraqi fighters from an Iran-backed group and two Syrians working with the Iranians. It added that a Syrian engineer was also killed.

Iran's state news agency confirmed that a Revolutionary Guard member was killed in Syria.

Dama Post, a pro-government media outlet in Syria, said the strikes targeted the provincial capital of Deir el-Zour that carries the same name, and the towns of Mayadeen and Boukamal. It said 20 people, including women and children, were among the dead.

The World Health Organization said one of its team members, engineer Emad Shehab, was killed in one of the strikes that hit his building. It said Shehab, 42, served as a WHO focal point for water, sanitation and hygiene in the province since 2022.

There was no claim of responsibility for the strikes. Israel frequently launches strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria but rarely acknowledges them.

In neighboring Lebanon, state-run National News Agency reported an Israeli airstrike on the northeastern village of Zboud in the region of Hermel. It said the strike hit a mountainous area, without giving details or whether there were casualties.

The Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee posted on X that Israel's air force struck a military complex used by Hezbollah's aerial unit in Zboud. He said the strike hit several buildings and an airstrip.

Adraee said that strike was in retaliation for Hezbollah firing rockets at Mount Meron air traffic control base in northern Israel.

Earlier Tuesday, Hezbollah said its fighters fired missiles toward the base in Mount Meron in retaliation for an airstrike on east Lebanon on Sunday that killed a Syrian citizen. Later in the day, Hezbollah said it fired more than 50 rockets on an Israeli command center in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in retaliation for the strike on Zboud.