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Israeli air strike destroys Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing senior commander, Syria says


An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus, killing two Iranian generals and five officers, Syrian and Iranian officials said on Monday.

Iran's Arabic-language state TV, Al-Alam, and the pan-Arab station Al-Mayadeen, with journalist­s in Syria, reported that the strike resulted in the death of General Mohammad Reza Zahedi. The Iranian military adviser led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016.

The air strike also killed Zahdi's deputy, General Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers.

Iranian Ambassador Hossein Akbari condemned Israel and said as many as seven people were killed, but first responders were still searching for any other bodies under the rubble. He said two police officers who guard the building were wounded.

In comments to the media after meeting Akbari, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said “several” people were killed. Mekdad in a phone call with his Iranian counterpar­t, Hossein Amirabdoll­ahian, condemned Israel over the attack.

Iranian state television said the Iranian ambassador’s residence was in the consular building, which stood next to the embassy.

State news agency SANA, citing an unnamed military source, said the building in the tightly guarded neighborho­od of Mazzeh was leveled.

The Israeli military did not immediatel­y comment. Over recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on targets within Syria's government-controlled regions.

Such airstrikes have escalated in recent months against the backdrop of Israel’s war against

Hamas in the Gaza Strip and ongoing clashes between Israel’s military and Hezbollah on the

Lebanon-Israel border.

Though it rarely acknowledg­es its actions in Syria, Israel has said it targets bases of Iran-allied militant groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

 ?? ?? Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024.
Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024.
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