Iran-backed Shiite militias claim Golan Heights attack

Attack comes amidst fears after assassination of senior IRGC military adviser

Israeli multiple rocket launchers are deployed in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon. AFP
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Iran-backed proxies in Iraq claimed an attack in the occupied Golan Heights on Thursday in a new escalation in the Israel-Gaza war.

The Islamic Resistance Iraq, a loose formation of Tehran-allied Shiite militias, said it had hit a “vital target in our occupied lands" to the south of Elad settlement.

It did not specify whether the attack was carried out using missiles or drones, but said it used "appropriate weaponry" without giving further details.

The Israeli army told AFP a drone that was probably carrying explosives crashed near Elad after being shot down late on Wednesday.

Iran's proxy groups have increased drone and missile attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria because of Washington's support for Israel in the war, which began after Hamas operatives killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, in Israel on October 7.

The attacks against US forces have hit Ain Al Asad in western Iraq, a military base near Baghdad's international airport, and Harir airport in the northern city of Erbil, as well as bases in Syria.

In retaliation, the US carried out three limited air strikes in Syria, but late last month it expanded them to Iraq, killing at least 16 militiamen.

The attack in the Golan Heights came after the assassination a senior military adviser in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in a reported Israeli air strike in Syria.

The death of Brig Gen Razi Mousavi in Damascus on Monday increased concerns that the war in Gaza could become a regional conflict involving Iran, its overseas proxies and its adversaries.

On Wednesday, a funeral procession was held for Mousavi in the Shiite shrine cities Najaf and Karbala in Iraq before he was buried in Iran.

On Thursday, Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, led prayers at Mousavi's funeral.

He paid tribute "to this martyr's tireless struggle and called for his companionship with the guardians of God, ,state television reported.

An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment specifically about Mousavi's death on Monday, but said it took whatever action that was necessary to defend the country.

Updated: December 29, 2023, 4:08 AM