Thursday, July 25, 2024

Iran accuses Israel of killing Iranian military leaders and others in an air strike on a consulate in Syria


Omar Sanadiqi / AFP

Emergency services work in a damaged building hit by an airstrike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)


Iran's top military commanders were among the seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officials killed in an airstrike on the country's consulate building in Damascus, Syria, according to Iranian officials and state media, which blamed Israel for the attack.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, was killed in the attack. Haji Rahimi was named as the second commander killed in the attack, according to an IRGC statement published by the official IRNA news agency later on Monday.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards statement listed the names of five other officials killed: Hossein Aman Elahi, Mehdi Jalalati, Mohsen Sadaqat, Ali Agbabaei, and Ali Salehi Rozbahani.

People gathered around the destroyed building in the Syrian capital, according to photos from the scene. Footage of the aftermath of the explosion, published by Iran's official Press TV channel, showed severe damage, fire and smoke at the scene.

Speaking on camera to reporters in Damascus, Iranian Ambassador Hossein Akbari claimed that the consulate building, located next to the Iranian embassy, ​​“was targeted by six missiles from Israeli F-35 warplanes.”

He added that among the dead were Iranian embassy employees and military advisors. It is not clear whether any of the IRGC officials are diplomatic staff and CNN cannot independently verify these allegations or casualty numbers.

In a separate interview, Akbari added that two Syrian policemen were among those injured in the attack, which he said “may be the first time that the Zionist regime has allowed itself to attack an official building of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which had the flag of the Islamic Republic raised above it.”

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In response to a question by CNN to comment on the incident, the Israeli army said that it does not comment on foreign reports. However, a military spokesman told CNN that Israel believes the Iranian building hit in the attack is a “Quds Force military building” and not a consulate.

Mehr News Agency

Iran accuses Israel of killing Iranian military commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi and others in an air strike on the consulate in Syria.

He added: “According to our intelligence information, this is not a consulate and this is not an embassy. I repeat, this is not a consulate and this is not an embassy. “This is a Qods Force military building disguised as a civilian building in Damascus,” IDF spokesman Admiral Daniel Hagari told CNN's Jim Sciutto. CNN cannot verify this claim.

When asked if Israel was involved in the attack, Hajari said: “I will not comment on that strike but I want to tell you that in the past six months, Iran has been working to escalate this area. “She's the lead actress.”

“[Iran] “It is the main party committing atrocities in this region using proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen,” Hajjari said.

“As of this morning, an Iranian drone [unmanned aerial vehicle] It targeted an Israeli base in Eilat,” Hagari claimed. “Iran is an actor that brings escalation.”

The New York Times reported that four unnamed Israeli officials admitted that Israel carried out the attack in Damascus.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani warned of possible “reciprocal measures” in the wake of the incident.

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Al-Kanaani said, according to the Fars News Agency of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, “Iran reserves its right to take reciprocal measures and will decide the type of response and punishment against the aggressor.”

The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria also accused Israel of planning the attack, with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian calling it a “violation of all international obligations and treaties” and demanding a “serious response” from the international community.

Louay Bishara/AFP/Getty Images

Emergency personnel extinguish a fire at the site of strikes that hit a building next to the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on April 1, 2024.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad described the raid as a “flagrant violation of international rules, especially the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” according to a transcript of his call with Amir Abdullahian.

Zahedi, the slain commander, was previously the commander of the IRGC Ground Forces, the commander of the IRGC Air Forces, and the deputy commander of IRGC operations.

The Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group issued a statement on Tuesday local time, accusing Israel of the strike, warning that Israel would pay the price, and vowing revenge.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the United States had “no confirmation of the target or responsible party” at a news conference on Monday.

“Before we gather information about exactly what this is, I don't want to talk about it specifically,” Miller added. “But of course, we are always concerned about anything that would lead to an escalation or cause an increase in conflict in the region.”

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The Russian Foreign Ministry “strongly” condemned the attack in a statement posted on its website on Monday, saying that “any attacks on diplomatic and consular facilities are absolutely unacceptable.”

He also called on “the Israeli leadership to abandon the practice of provocative military actions in Syria and other neighboring countries, which could lead to very dangerous consequences throughout the region.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.



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