December 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Threatens Israel After IRGC Commander Killed in Syria

December 26, 2023 | Flash Brief

Iran Threatens Israel After IRGC Commander Killed in Syria

Latest Developments

Iranian officials threatened Israel after Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Razi Mousavi was killed in Damascus on December 25. Mousavi was involved in Iran’s backing of militias in Syria which Iran has employed as proxies to threaten Israel and U.S. forces. Iran blamed Israel for killing Mousavi although Israeli authorities did not take responsibility for the airstrike that caused the IRGC commander’s death. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vowed on December 25 that Israel will “certainly pay for this crime.” Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also said that “Tel Aviv faces a tough countdown.”

Expert Analysis

“Iranian entrenchment in Syria is a danger to Israel, the United States, and countries throughout the Middle East. Iran uses Syria as a transport hub for weapons flowing to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and Iranian-backed militias in Syria are involved in attacks on U.S. forces as well as drug smuggling. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps must withdraw from Syria so that Tehran can no longer use Damascus as a springboard for attacks across the Middle East.” — Seth J. Frantzman, FDD Adjunct Fellow

“The killing of Razi Mousavi serves as a signal to the regime in Tehran that aiding Hezbollah in the transfer of arms via Syria — which are subsequently used to inflict harm on Israelis — will not be tolerated. While it is unlikely to alter Iran’s overall strategy in supplying sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, the elimination of Mousavi does weaken its malign activities in Syria.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Hezbollah Threatens Israel, Commemorates Slain IRGC Commander as ‘Comrade’

The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah eulogized Mousavi, according to Iranian pro-government media reports. The group called his killing a “shameless violation” and commemorated Mousavi as a “comrade in arms” of former IRGC Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad in January 2020. Hezbollah said Mousavi had dedicated his life to the “Islamic resistance in Lebanon and tirelessly helped the resistance and its fighters.”

Increased Attacks From Syria

Attacks on Israel from Syria have increased in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. On December 20 four rockets were launched from Syria at Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retaliated, striking the source of the rocket fire and a post of the Syrian regime’s army. On December 18 there were several rockets launched at Israel from Syria, and the IDF carried out retaliatory strikes and released a video of a strike on a Syrian military post. There were several other attacks on Israel during the month of December according to IDF daily incident reports.

Two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Killed in Reported Syria Strike by Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Strikes Hezbollah Terror Targets in Lebanon,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah Launches More Rockets at Northern Israel,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Syria