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Iran says missile attack in Syria killed 40 'leaders' of Islamic State

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran said the missile attack it launched in Syria on Monday had killed 40 "top leaders" of Islamic State, and that intelligence for the operation had been provided by its elite Quds Force.

Iran fired six missiles at targets in the Abu Kamal and Hajin regions in eastern Syria, in retaliation for an attack on a military parade in Iran on Sept. 22 that killed 25 people, nearly half of them members of its Revolutionary Guards.

The Quds Force is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards' overseas operations.

"Based on the information we have received, around 40 top leaders of Daesh were killed in this attack," General Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards' aerospace division, was quoted on Tuesday by Iran's state media as saying. "Daesh" is a derogatory Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

"One of the highlights of this operation was that the Quds force had provided the intelligence needed for the attack."

The Islamic State and the Ahwaz National Resistance, a separatist ethnic Arab movement in Iran, have both claimed responsibility for the Sept. 22 attack, but neither has presented conclusive evidence.

Iranian military support has been vital to helping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through his country's civil war. Iran has dismissed U.S. demands that it leave Syria.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Andrew Roche)

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