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Iran International Report Sparks Speculation On Next Israeli Hits

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After Iran International exposed the inner circle of Iran’s top military man in Syria, eliminated by Israel this week, it is believed they will be Israel’s next potential targets.

Israeli network i24 News reported on Sunday that following the killing of senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Razi Mousavi in an Israeli airstrike, his close aides may be next on Israel’s hit list. The report by the Israeli website, which cited Iran International as the source of the information, was picked up by Iranian state media as “the four IRGC-Quds Force members on Israel’s kill list.” 

Iran International’s Mojtaba Pourmohsen has exclusively reported on Iran’s network of arms smuggling into Syria via passenger planes and then to Lebanon and has identified several key members of the team. The operation was overseen by Razi Mousavi, prompting speculations that his deputies are going to run the operation after his death. 

Abdollah Ebadi is Mousavi’s deputy who transfers weapons from Iran to Syria via commercial flights. His right hand, identified as Zein Shams Abu Adnan, is a key figure of the so-called ‘Relief Office’ of the operation – apparently a cover name for IRGC-Quds Force Unit 2250. Masoud Katbi is another deputy who used to head the transfers division and has been recently replaced by Hadi Feizabadi. 

Unit 2250 is tasked with delivering all the cargo intended for Tehran’s proxy forces in the port of Latakia, a target of repeated Israeli attacks. In December 2021, Israel hit containers of Iranian munitions being unloaded at the port. 

A chart showing IRGC officer Razi Mousavi with facial composites of some of his close aides

Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the targeted killing, but it has always insisted that it seeks to prevent entrenchment of Iran-backed forces near its borders. It has been mounting attacks in Syria for years against Iranian and Iran-backed forces that have deployed there presumably to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel “acts against Iran all the time, everywhere, in every way,” adding that Israel is “landing heavy blows against Hezbollah, eliminating many terrorists and destroying the enemy’s capabilities.” 

“If Hezbollah expands the war, it will receive blows it never dreamed of – and so will Iran… Iran leads the axis of evil and aggression against us on the various fronts,” he stated. 

In recent years, Israel has intensified strikes on Syrian airports to disrupt Tehran’s increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to allies in Syria and Lebanon including Hezbollah. Following increasing disruptions to ground transfers, Tehran has adopted air transport as a more reliable means of ferrying military equipment to its proxy militias. 

Since October 7, when Iran-backed Islamist group Hamas declared war on Israel, Tehran’s proxies have intensified attacks on US and Israeli targets across the region to pressure Israel into ceasing its retaliatory offensive in Gaza. Iran denies involvement in the October 7 attack but cheers Hamas killings and pledges unwavering support to any group that acts against Israel and US forces. 

The death of Razi Mousavi on December 25 is seen as a blow to the Iranian regime’s ability to strengthen and supply its proxy forces in the region. Iran has vowed revenge for the targeted killing, similar to a US air strike that killed Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in January 2020 in Baghdad.