Syrian rebels are trying to shed light on the death of a senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard after Tehran announced his death, blaming Israel.
Free Syrian Army spokesman Fahad al-Masri said that Hussam Hush Nawis was killed in the alleged Israeli strike in the Jamraya area two weeks ago. According to the spokesman, Nawis died while supervising an arms and rockets shipment to Lebanon.
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Nawis, also known as Hassan Shateri, was the head of the Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon which was set up after the Second Lebanon War in order to help Hezbollah restore infrastructure damaged in the war. In reality he served as the IRGC commander in Lebanon.
According to the Syrian rebels, prior to arriving in Jamraya, Nawis stopped over in Damascus where he met with Iranian and Syrian military consultants. Al-Masri added that several of Nawis' aides were also killed in the airstrike but that their deaths were not reported due to "the consequences" in such a disclosure.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard official who was murdered in Lebanon was buried in Tehran. The funeral was attended by IRGC commander Mohammad Jafari, Qods Force Commander Qasem Soleimani and other Iranian officials.
Iran's elite fighting force named the slain man as commander Hassan Shateri, in an statement on its website that said he was killed while travelling from Damascus to Beirut.
Iran's embassy in Lebanon has opened its gates to mourners. The Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, greeted a group of mourners which included two Hezbollah
senior officials: Hashim Safi Al Din and Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek.
Hassan Shateri (Screenshot: Mashreghnews.ir)
IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sherif blamed Israel for the official's death claiming he had been murdered by Israeli agents en route to Beirut.
"Commander Hassan Shateri was martyred en route from Damascus to Beirut at the hands of Zionist regime mercenaries and backers," Sherif said in the statement.
He identified Shateri as a Revolutionary Guards commander who was also head of the Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon.
On Wednesday, an independent Iranian news website reported that the commander of the IRGC mission in Lebanon had been killed and blamed Israel for his death.
Meanwhile, Lebanese media reported that Nawis was killed on his way from Damascus to Beirut.
Al-Arabiya claimed that Nawis served as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's personal envoy in Lebanon and had diplomatic status.
AFP contributed to this report
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