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Car explosion kills at least one in Damascus

The explosion comes as an Israeli drone attack reportedly targeted a car and a truck near Syria’s border with Lebanon.

A car explosion has killed one person in Syria’s capital Damascus, Syrian news agency SANA reported, without identifying the victim.

“One person was killed when an explosive device exploded in their car in the Mezze district,” a police official quoted by SANA said.

The Mezze neighbourhood of Damascus houses the Iranian consulate, destroyed last month in a strike blamed on Israel. The attack at the time killed seven people including two Iranian generals and a member of the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, and triggered a direct Iranian military assault on Israel for the first time, prompting fears of a region-wide war.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the UK-based opposition war monitor the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said the man killed in the explosion was a Mezze resident who carried a card identifying him as a Syrian army officer. Abdurrahman said the dead man had close ties to Iran.

Security incidents, including blasts targeting military and civilian vehicles, occur intermittently in the capital of war-ravaged Syria.

The explosion comes against a backdrop of heightened regional tensions, including Israel’s war on Gaza.

Hours after the blast in Damascus, an Israeli drone attack reportedly targeted a car and a truck outside the western Syrian town of Qusayr, northwest of Damascus, close to Lebanon’s border, the Observatory and a Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station reported.

“An Israeli drone fired two missiles at a Hezbollah car and truck near the town of Qusayr in Homs province, as they were on their way to al-Dabaa military airport, killing at least two Hezbollah fighters and wounding others,” the Syrian Observatory said.

Last month, an explosive device went off in a car in Mezz, without causing any casualties, SANA reported at the time.

Israel has launched hundreds of air raids in Syria since the war broke out in 2011, targeting Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah, as well as Syrian army positions.

The attacks have increased since Israel’s war on Gaza began on October 7, which followed an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel.

Syria’s war has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more since it erupted in 2011 after Damascus cracked down on antigovernment protests.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has received strong backing from Iran, which, along with support from Russia, allowed his government to turn the tide against the opposition, despite international and regional opposition to his rule and widespread human rights abuses.

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