Car Bomb In The Syrian Capital Kills One. Drone Strike Near Lebanon Border Targets Two Vehicles

This is a locator map for Syria with its capital, Damascus. (AP Photo)
This is a locator map for Syria with its capital, Damascus. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT (AP) — A bomb attached to a car exploded early Saturday in the western part of the Syrian capital that is home to several diplomatic missions, killing one person and causing material damage, state media reported.

Damascus’ Mazze neighborhood 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 Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah, and triggered a direct Iranian military assault on Israel for the first time, sparking fears of a regionwide war.

Several airstrikes have hit the tightly-secured neighborhood over the past months, mostly targeting Iranian officials.

State news agency, SANA, didn't say who the person killed was but said the blast set two other cars ablaze.

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

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

The strike hit the two vehicles near Dabaa air base. Qusair and its suburbs were struck several times over the past months by Israeli drones targeting Hezbollah fighters who have a presence in the area.

The Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV didn't say if there were casualties, but the Observatory said two Hezbollah members were killed and several others wounded in the drone strike.

Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Israeli forces have traded cross-border fire a day after the Israel-Hamas war started on Oct. 7 on an almost daily basis. Since then, more than 400 people have been killed in Lebanon, most of them Hezbollah fighters, and more than 70 civilians and non-combatants, according to an Associated Press tally.

Meanwhile, Israel says at least 15 soldiers and 10 civilians have so far been killed in the clashes.

Tehran has been sending advisers to Syria since the country’s conflict, which later turned into civil war, began in March 2011 and has killed half a million people. Iran-backed fighters have helped tip the balance of power in favor of President Bashar Assad’s government.

Iran’s military presence in Syria has been a major concern for Israel, which has vowed to stop Iranian entrenchment along its northern border. Syria has accused Israel of carrying out hundreds of strikes on targets in government-controlled parts in recent years — but Israel has rarely acknowledged such strikes.

The war in Gaza started after Hamas led militants in a surprise attack on southern Israel. About 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage. Israel responded with a retaliatory war that has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children, according to Gaza health officials.