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Iran vows to punish Israel for deadly strike on embassy annex

Iran's Khamenei denies involvement in Hamas attack on Israel
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Iran warned its arch foe Israel on Tuesday that it will retaliate for an air strike that killed seven Revolutionary Guards, two of them generals, and destroyed its consular annex building in the Syrian capital.

Israel declined to comment on Monday’s strike in Damascus, which fuelled Middle East tensions already inflamed by the Gaza war and violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iranian state media said 13 people were killed in the strike in which, according to Tehran’s ambassador, Israeli F-35 fighter-jets fired six missiles that levelled the five-storey consular building adjacent to the embassy.

The building was reduced to a mountain of rubble by the blasts which blew out windows in nearby buildings and incinerated cars parked on the roadside in a leafy and upscale suburb of the city.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed that Israel “will be punished at the hands of our brave men. We will make them regret this crime and the other ones.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned the attack as a “clear violation of international regulations” which “will not go unanswered”.

“After repeated defeats and failures against the faith and will of the Resistance Front fighters, the Zionist regime has put blind assassinations on its agenda in the struggle to save itself,” Raisi said on his office’s website.

Syria’s ally Russia accused Israel of seeking to “fuel” conflict in the Middle East with the attack, with Moscow’s envoy adding at a UN Security Council meeting that Israeli strikes on Syria are “unacceptable”.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations warned that the strike could “potentially ignite more conflict involving other nations” and called on the Security Council “to condemn this unjustified criminal act”.

 

– Guards generals killed –

 

Iran said the strike killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two commanders of its Quds Force foreign operations arm, Brigadier Generals Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi.

Zahedi, 63, had held a succession of commands in the force in a Guards career spanning more than four decades.

State news agency IRNA said the funeral ceremony of the IRGC members will be held on Friday coinciding with the annual Quds Day, which will see Iranian people taking to streets in support of Palestinians and against Israel.

A monitor of the more than decade-old Syrian conflict, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strike killed 14 people, none of them civilians — eight Iranians, one Lebanese and five pro-Iran Syrian fighters.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad condemned “the brutal, filthy attack” in a call to his Iranian counterpart, the Syrian presidency said, blaming Israel for it.

Israel has long fought a shadow war of assassinations and sabotage against Iran and its armed allies, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other militant groups.

Regional tensions have flared since the Gaza war erupted with Hamas’s October 7 attack that resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed nearly 33,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged daily cross-border fire since the war broke out, and Israel has also been blamed for multiple other strikes there and in Syria.

Hamas also described the strike as a “dangerous escalation” in the wider conflict.

 

– ‘Message to America’ –

 

Iran also charged that the United States, Israel’s main backer, bore responsibility, and the foreign ministry summoned a diplomat from the Swiss embassy which looks after US interests in Iran.

“An important message was sent to the American government as the supporter of the Zionist regime,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on X. “America must be held accountable.”

But US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby denied any US involvement, while Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Washington was not informed about it in advance.

“We had nothing to do with the strike in Damascus, we weren’t involved in any way whatsoever,” said Kirby.

Singh told reporters: “We’ve made it very clear in private channels to Iran that we were not responsible for the strike.”

Iran’s allies meanwhile voiced support for its position.

“China condemns the attack,” foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, adding that Syria’s sovereignty must be respected.

Iraq also denounced the attack and warned of “more chaos and instability in the region.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group warned Israel would pay for killing Guards commanders, saying “this crime will not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge”.

The European Union urged “restraint” and expressed “alarm” following the strike.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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