Iran guards say 7 members killed in Israel strike on Syria consular annex

AFP , AP , Monday 1 Apr 2024

Israeli air strikes destroyed the Iranian embassy's consular annex in Damascus Monday, Syrian and Iranian officials said, with a top Revolutionary Guard commander among seven members the force said were killed, amid worsening regional tensions.

 The site of the Iranian embassy in Syria
Emergency and security personnel gather at the site of strikes which hit a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Syria s capital Damascus. Israeli strikes hit Syria s capital on April 1, state media reported, as a war monitor said six people were killed in a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy. AFP



Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps named Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi and another high-ranking officer, Brigadier General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, as among seven of its members killed.

Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 11 people were killed, eight Iranians, two Syrians, and one Lebanese, when "Israeli missiles... destroyed the building of an annex to the Iranian embassy".

Iran's ambassador to Syria, Hossein Akbari, giving a lower toll, told Iranian state TV that "at least five people were killed in the attack which was carried out by F-35 fighter jets" which fired six missiles at the building.

​Syria's official news agency SANA said "The Israeli attack targeted the Iranian consulate building in the Mazzeh neighbourhood of Damascus".
While Iran's consular building was leveled in the attack, its main embassy building remained intact.
AFP correspondents at the scene confirmed the building next to the embassy, an annex, had been leveled, in an upscale neighborhood of Damascus.
​AFP reporters saw the annex building had caved in, and emergency services were rushing to search for victims under the rubble as sirens wailed in the upscale Damascus district of Mazzeh.
Security personnel shielded the site where earth-moving equipment was brought in to clear the debris and remove charred vehicles from the road outside, watched by a crowd of onlookers.
Akbari, condemned Israel and said as many as seven people were killed. He said two police officers who guard the building were wounded.

He vowed the attack "will lead to our decisive response", adding "the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate shows the reality of the Zionist entity which recognises no international laws and does all that is inhumane to achieve its goals".

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called for a "serious response by the international community".

It was the fifth strike in eight days to hit Syria.

'Heinous attack' 


Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad denounced the attack after visiting the site.

"We strongly condemn this heinous terrorist attack that targeted the Iranian consulate building in Damascus killing several innocent people," Mekdad said in a statement carried by SANA.

The Observatory said Zahedi served as the leader of the Quds Force for Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, adding that he was killed along with his deputy, his aide, and the Quds force chief of staff for the same three countries.

Two other members of the Guards and two Iranian advisers were also killed in the strike, the Observatory said.

Moscow blamed "the Israeli Air Force" for the "unacceptable attack against the Iranian consular mission in Syria."

​The Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad accused Israel of seeking to widen its genocidal war on Gaza.

Hamas condemned "in the strongest terms" the attack which it called a "dangerous escalation."

The United Arab Emirats also condemned the attack.

The incident in Damascus came three days after the Observatory reported Israeli strikes that killed 53 people in Syria, including 38 soldiers and seven members of Hezbollah.

It was the highest Syrian army toll in Israeli strikes since the Israeli war on Gaza began on October 7, said the monitor.

"Syria and Lebanon have become one extended battleground from the Israeli perspective," Riad Kahwaji, head of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, told AFP after the Friday strikes.

"Israel warplanes hit targets in both countries almost daily in a sustained effort to destroy Hezbollah military infrastructure and to also tarnish the group's image," he said.


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