Islamic Jihad commander killed in Syria in alleged Israel assassination

Middle East Monitor  /  March 20, 2023

Israel has reportedly assassinated a commander of the Palestinian Resistance group, Islamic Jihad, in the latest such targeting of the group’s members in neighbouring Syria.

According to Islamic Jihad, 31-year-old Ali Ramzi al-Aswad – also known as Abu Abed al-Rahman, a commander in the group’s Al-Quds Brigade armed wing – was killed in an attack “by agents of the Zionist [Israeli] enemy” yesterday morning in the countryside surrounding the Syrian capital, Damascus.

An Islamic Jihad official, who spoke to the news agency, AFP, on the condition of anonymity, said that “The assassination was carried out by direct shooting near his house”.

The Iran-backed Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, condemned the assassination late yesterday, releasing a statement saying that “this heinous crime … bears the hallmarks of the Zionist enemy.”

Israel has neither yet commented on nor confirmed its role in the killing, but the targeting of Al-Aswad would be the latest such assassination to be carried out by Israeli agents in Syria and elsewhere.

The statement by Hezbollah asserted that the “targeted killings of commanders and fighters from resistance movements will in no way help the Zionist enemy materialize the plots which it has heavily counted on. On the contrary, such moves will heighten the vigilance of our peoples”.

The killing came a day after the leaders of Islamic Jihad and the dominant Gaza-based Resistance movement, Hamas, met with the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon to discuss regional developments and coordination in strengthening Palestinian resistance groups.

It comes particularly at a time when Israeli Occupation Forces are increasingly facing attacks by armed Palestinian groups in the West Bank amid rising violence conducted by Jewish settlers and Israeli military raids.