Iranian Guards commander killed in Israeli strike on consulate in Damascus

Iran’s embassy in Syria’s capital city Damascus was on Monday (Apr 1) bombed in what is being described as an Israeli air strike by Syrian as well as Iranian media.

The move is being termed as an apparent escalation of the conflict in the Middle East that would put Israel against Iran and its international backers.

The air offensive had claimed the life of Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reported news agency Reuters citing a Lebanese security source.

Zahedi is reported to be a top commander in IRGC’s Quds Force — responsible for the unit’s operations in Syria and Lebanon, and thus the most senior commander of Iranian forces in Syria and Lebanon.

As per the Iranian state television, several Iranian diplomats were killed in the strike.

Israel, which usually does not comment about attacks by its forces on Syria, on being asked about the offensive, said, “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.”

Iran’s Tasnim news agency cited sources who indicated that at least six people were killed in the strike. It said the number was not yet officially confirmed.

Tasnim reported that Zahedi’s deputy was also killed in the strike.

Reuters quoted Iran’s ambassador in Syria warning that Iran’s response to the strike would be harsh.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian called up his Syrian counterpart and said that Tehran holds Israel responsible for the attack on its consulate in Damascus.

The strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus is “a breach of all international conventions,” Amirabdollahian added.

Syrian FM condemns Israeli attack

Syria’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad denounced the Israeli offensive on the Iranian consulate.

“(We expressed) our condolences for the casualties and our sadness for these strikes that are unjustified against any diplomatic corps and we ensured the importance of continuing Syrian-Iranian relations based on morals and values,” Mekdad said.

“The Israeli occupation entity will not be able to impact ties between Iran and Syria,” he added.  

‘Aware of reports of Israeli air strike on Iranian consulate in Damascus,’ says White House

White House spokesperson Karine Jean Pierre said that US President Joe Biden is aware of Israeli air strikes in Damascus and that the “team is looking into it.”

“I’m aware of the reports. Our team is looking into it, so I’m not going to get ahead of anything just yet. But obviously, we’re aware of the reports and our team is looking into it. I’m just not going to go beyond that,” said Jean Pierre.

(With inputs from agencies)

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