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Apr 1, 2024, 1:41pm EDT
securityMiddle East

Airstrike in Damascus kills high-ranking Iranian commander, local media reports

Firas Makdesi/Reuters
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Several people were reportedly killed after part of the Iranian consulate in Damascus was destroyed in an airstrike that Iranian and Syrian media have blamed on Israel. If confirmed, this would be the first time Israel has attacked an Iranian embassy, Axios reported.

Among those reported killed is Gen. Mohamad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in charge of Tehran’s operations in Syria and Lebanon, Iranian state media said. Iran’s ambassador to Syria warned that Tehran’s response would be “harsh.”

Israel has not officially commented on the attack, but four Israeli officials told The New York Times that Israel was behind the attack to kill Zahedi, but they did not confirm if he had died. While Israel rarely comments on specific strikes in Syria, the country has conducted hundreds of attacks against Iran-backed militias in the country over the last 10 years, The Times of Israel reported. “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media,” an Israeli military spokesperson told Reuters.

This is a serious escalation on Israel’s part,” Nicole Grajewski, an Iran researcher at the Carnegie Endowment, wrote on X.

The alleged attack came just a few days after an Israeli airstrike in Aleppo killed dozens of people on Friday, including members of Hezbollah and Syrian soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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