Iran Pulls Out Top IRGC Terror Commanders From Syria Amid IDF Counter-Terror Strikes

2024-02-01 10:00:18

Iran on Thursday pulled out its top Islamic Guard (IRGC) commanders and several other terror operatives from Syria amid alleged Israeli counter-terror strikes. “Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) recalled its senior officers from Syria, and will now rely on regional proxies,” the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS reported. “The decision came amid increased targeted strikes, blamed on Israel, in the region.”

Tehran is withdrawing top terror operatives nearly two weeks after a supposed Israeli airstrike eliminated 5 IRGC commanders, including its Syria-based intelligence chief. Since Hamas’s October 7 massacre, the Israeli military has reportedly carried out several targeted strikes in neighboring Syria and Lebanon, both countries which are being used by Iran to stage terror attacks into northern Israel, such as rocket barrages and infiltration attempts by terror squads.

Prompted by Iran, Hezbollah and other terrorist militias have escalated attacks along Israel’s northern border. The sudden retreat of IRGC commanders from the battlefield leaves these proxy terrorist outfits in the lurch.

The Jerusalem Post reported:

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have scaled back deployment of their senior officers in Syria due to a spate of deadly Israeli strikes and will rely more on allied Shi’ite militia to preserve their sway there, five sources familiar with the matter said.

The Guards have suffered one of their most bruising spells in Syria since arriving a decade ago to aid President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war. Since December, Israeli strikes have killed more than half a dozen of their members, among them one of the Guards’ top intelligence generals.

As hardliners in Tehran demand retaliation, Iran’s decision to pull out senior officers is driven partly by its aversion to being sucked directly into a conflict bubbling across the Middle East, three of the sources told Reuters. (…)

One of the sources – a senior regional security official briefed by Tehran – said senior Iranian commanders had left Syria along with dozens of mid-ranking officers, describing it as a downsizing of the presence.

Syria, ruled by the Iran-backed Bashar al-Assad regime, has turned into a forward base for Iran’s IRGC, the regime’s international terrorist arm, as it seeks to encircle Israel. Iran-sponsored terrorist groups, such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), are part of the same Iranian strategy of waging proxy war on Israel from Palestinian-run Gaza and the West Bank.

Gaza: Israeli air force hits Hamas’s long-range missile launcher

As the Israeli ground operation enters its fourteenth week, the IDF is fighting to take the last major Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis, where Hamas’s terrorist leadership is thought to be hiding behind Israeli hostages.

The Hamas bastion of Khan Yunis is infested with a web of underground terror tunnels used for moving Hamas’s terrorist fighting force undetected and for sneak attacks against Israeli troops. In recent weeks, Israeli troops in Khan Yunis — particularly the IDF’s 55th Brigade — “located and dismantled tunnel shafts, destroyed numerous weapons, and eliminated a large number of terrorists, the Israel broadcaster Arutz Sheva reported Thursday.

The Israeli Air Force on Thursday destroyed a long-range rocket launcher located in Khan Yunis. Hamas has been using the area to fire rockets at Israeli cities.

“The barrage of at least 11 projectiles was fired from southern Gaza, where the majority of the fighting is centered, and set off alarms across central Israel including in Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities of Rishon Lezion, Holon and Bat Yam,” The Times of Israel reported Wednesday. “More than 2,000 Hamas operatives have been killed above and below ground in Khan Younis since troops began operating there last month,” the news website added.

The Israeli military reported the ongoing operations in a press release on Thursday afternoon:

IDF troops are continuing operational activities in the northern and central Gaza Strip and in the center of Gaza City. Over the past day, the troops eliminated dozens of terrorists. Following the identification of a terrorist cell in central Gaza, IDF troops directed an aircraft that struck and eliminated a number of terrorists in the area.

In the northern Gaza Strip, IDF troops are continuing to enter Hamas military compounds and eliminate terrorists.

IDF troops are continuing extensive activities in western Khan Yunis. Over the past day, IDF troops eliminated terrorists in the area in close-quarters combat. In addition, IDF troops directed several aircraft that struck and eliminated a number of terrorists in different areas.

During activities in Khan Yunis, IDF troops identified a long-range missile launcher. The troops directed an IDF fighter jet, that struck the launcher.

IDF troops in Khan Yunis identified a number of terrorists in the area. In cooperation with the IAF, the troops directed an aircraft that struck and eliminated the terrorists.

Biden sanctions Israeli ‘settlers’

While Israel battles deadly Palestinian terrorism on all fronts, President Joe Biden issued an executive order sanctioning Israeli “settler violence.”

“President Biden on Thursday signed an executive order allowing the U.S. to impose new sanctions on Israeli settlers — and potentially Israeli politicians and government officials — involved in violent attacks against Palestinians,” Axios reported.

Biden’s executive order could be the beginning of further restrictions against Israeli ‘settlers,’ or Jews living in their ancestral homeland of Judea and Samaria, news reports suggest.

The measures might be aimed at Israeli politicians regarded ‘far-right’ by the Biden administration. “The administration reportedly considered sanctions on Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich,” the i24NEWS noted Thursday.


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