Iran commander killed just days after nuclear chief assassination as WW3 fears SURGE

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Muslim Shahdan, a senior commander served in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed in an airstrike on the Iraq-Syria border over the weekend. Reports claimed a drone made a targeted strike on the commanders vehicle, which also killed three bodyguards. It followed the assassination of Mr Fakhrizadeh near Tehran, which Iran has claimed Israel carried out the attack.

Mr Shahdan was killed near a village in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor province, which is a major link between Iran and Lebanon.

Iraqi security sources have claimed a drone strike carried out the attack late Saturday or early Sunday, according to al-Arabiya News.

They added Mr Shahdan’s vehicle was carrying weapons, and was hit shortly after it had entered Syria from Iraq.

Jerusalem and the US have accused Iran of attempting to smuggle weapons to Syria and Lebanon to be used against Israel.

No country or group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on the commander.

Two Iraqi security officials also said that Iraq forces retrieved the bodies following the attack.

The region was previously an ISIS stronghold, but has since been retaken by Syria with the help of Iranian forces.

IRGC forces have since been deployed in Syria regularly to support leader Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil war.

Reports of Mr Shahdan’s death came as Iran held a funeral for Mr Fakhrizadeh after his assassination.

The countries top nuclear physicist, who was essential in Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was shot in his vehicle by a remote controlled gun according to Iranian state TV channel Al Alam.

Other reports claimed a Nissan truck carrying explosives was detonated next to the physicist’s car, with gunmen swarming the vehicle after the detonation.

Top Iranian officials have laid the blame for Mr Fakhrizadeh’s death on Israel and have vowed revenge.

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After the assassination, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised “definitive punishment”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani explicitly blamed Israel for Mr Fakhrizadeh’s death and said: “The Iranian nation is smarter than falling into the trap of the Zionists. They are thinking to create chaos.”

During Monday’s funeral service, Iran’s defence minister Amir Hatami also vowed retribution against whoever carried out the attack.

He said in a televised service: “The enemies know that no crime, no terror and no stupid act will go unanswered by the Iranian people.”

Mr Shahdan’s death marks the latest attack on Iranian officials thus year, with January seeing Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani killed in a US air strike.

Iran furiously responded by firing missiles at US bases in Iraqi that caused dozens of injuries but no casualties.

In the wake of Mr Fakhrizadeh’s assassination, the Iranian parliament passed legislation ramping up the country’s uranium enrichment to 20 percent.

The parliament issued a statement ahead of the new law saying “the hand of the murderous Zionist regime” was obvious in Mr Fakhrizadeh’s death.

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