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August 26, 2019 1:08 pm

Men Killed in IDF Strike in Syria Identified as Hezbollah Militants

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Hezbollah members Hassan Yousef Zabeeb and Yasser Ahmad Daher, killed late Saturday night in an IDF strike in Syria, seen flying to Iran from Lebanon in an undated photograph. Credit: Israel Defense Forces – The Israeli army has identified two of the men killed in an IDF strike in Syria late Saturday night as Lebanese Hezbollah fighters Hassan Yousef Zabeeb, 23, and Yasser Ahmad Daher, 22.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has also identified the men in a speech, calling the young men “martyrs.”

The strike was carried out to thwart a planned attack on Israel by Iran-backed fighters using armed drones, the IDF said on Saturday night.

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According to the IDF, the Zabeeb and Daher traveled to Iran a number of times in recent years, working on behalf of the Quds Force, under Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leader Qassem Soleimani.

The army said in a statement that the men traveled to Iran to undergo training involving the use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles, with the aim of targeting Israeli military installations and national infrastructure in northern Israel.

IRGC advisers and drones, reported the army, were flown in to Syria from Tehran several weeks ago.

According to IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the army had been monitoring the Iranian plot for a number of weeks.

In a photo released by the IDF, the two men are pictured traveling on Iran’s Mahan airline, a major transporter of Iranian weaponry in Syria and Lebanon according to Israeli and American intelligence. IDF footage also reveals a failed attempt by Iranian-proxy operatives to launch explosives from Syria into northern Israel.

According to a Syrian NGO, at least three others were killed in the strike, including an IRGC operative.

On Sunday morning following the Israeli strikes, Iranian-backed Hezbollah claimed that two Israeli drones had crashed near its press offices in the southern suburbs of Beirut. However, Israeli analysts say that based on pictures of the wreckage the drones seem to be Iranian models. The IDF refused to comment.

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