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Iranian officials blame Israel for deadly attack on Iranian consulate in Syria


Emergency services workers work inside a building hit by an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on Monday. Syrian and Iranian officials said the Iranian consulate in Damascus was destroyed and two Iranian generals were killed.

Omar Sanadiki/AP


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Omar Sanadiki/AP


Emergency services workers work inside a building hit by an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, on Monday. Syrian and Iranian officials said the Iranian consulate in Damascus was destroyed and two Iranian generals were killed.

Omar Sanadiki/AP

AMMAN, Jordan – Iran said on Monday that Israel killed two Iranian generals and several others in an airstrike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Iranian official media said that Israeli F-35 fighter jets attacked the building with six rockets, almost completely destroying it and killing at least seven members of the “Quds Force”, the elite overseas force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Syrian state media said the airstrike leveled an annex to the Iranian embassy.

Israel has not yet commented on the airstrikes, but Israeli media reported that it had put several embassies around the world on urine alert after Iran publicly blamed Israel and vowed revenge.

Iranian media confirmed that the top military adviser killed in Monday’s air strike was Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and his deputy was also a general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Five other people were killed in the explosion.

Zahedi would be the top Iranian commander known to have been assassinated since the Gaza war began. He is a key intermediary between Iran and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which has been fighting Israel on the Lebanese-Israeli border. It also has the support of Tehran.

Zahedi, now in his 60s, was the commander of Iran’s elite forces during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Iran said he later served as a ground commander and air force commander for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Monday’s attack was a “serious violation of international conventions on the protection of diplomatic missions.” He vowed that Iran would take “necessary actions” against the attack.

Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdullahian told his Syrian counterpart Faisal McDad on the phone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has completely lost his mental balance due to the Gaza regime’s repeated defeats.”

Israel has been launching a military offensive in the Gaza Strip since the Hamas-led Israeli attack in October. Hamas is a Palestinian militant group that receives some support from Iran. Israel said the October 7 attack killed 1,200 people.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, Israel launched its invasion of Gaza in response to the attack, which has killed more than 3,200 people.

Since the outbreak of the Gaza war, Israel has stepped up air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria.

This is one of the developments that many countries fear could escalate the war in Gaza into a wider conflict.

Iran said at the start of the Gaza war that it had no prior knowledge that Hamas would attack Israel on October 7. Iran does operate a network of armed groups in the region that it supports, arms and, to some extent, monitors.

Although Iran is Shia Muslim and Hamas is a Sunni group, the two countries have established ties and are believed to have some degree of coordination on Iranian proxy attacks on Israeli targets.

Iran’s most powerful affiliated militia is Lebanese Hezbollah, which has been fighting Israel on the two countries’ borders since the war began in an effort to divert Israeli military resources from the Gaza war.

So far, neither Iran nor Hezbollah seems willing to cross the border and launch an all-out war with Israel. But a full-scale attack by Hezbollah could be part of the retaliation.

Iran also backs a number of Iraqi militia groups that have attacked U.S. troops in the region since the war in Gaza began, killing three U.S. service members in a January attack on a small base in Jordan near the Syrian border.

Jane Arraf reported in Amman, Jordan; James Hider reported in Washington, D.C.



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