Iran vows retaliation after deadly Israel strike wrecks consulate in Syria

An Israeli air strike destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding everyone inside, Syrian regime media said on April 1, 2024. (Photo/Reuters)

Iran and one of its key aligned groups vowed to respond to a strike widely attributed to Israel that demolished Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus and killed seven, including two Iranian generals.

Iran's state TV reported Tuesday that the country's Supreme National Security Council, a key decision-making body, met late Monday and decided on a "required" response to the strike. The report said the meeting was chaired by President Ebrahim Raisi, but provided no further details.

Israel has repeatedly targeted military officials from Iran along its border with Lebanon. Monday's strike in Damascus signalled an escalation because it struck an Iranian diplomatic mission.

It was not clear if Iran would respond itself, risking a dangerous confrontation with Israel and its ally the United States, or if it would continue to rely on Tehran-aligned groups, including Lebanon's Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthis.

The air strike in Syria killed General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016, according to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. It also killed Zahedi's deputy, General Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers.

Hezbollah said Tuesday that Zahedi played a crucial role in helping "develop and advance the work" of the group in Lebanon.

"This crime will certainly not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge," Hezbollah said in a statement.

The outbreak of the war in Gaza nearly six months ago has led to near daily cross-border exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel, and frequent Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges strikes against Iranian targets, said it had no comment on the latest attack in Syria, although a military spokesman blamed Iran for a drone attack early Monday against a naval base in southern Israel.

Israel has grown increasingly impatient with the daily exchanges of fire with Hezbollah, which have escalated in recent days, and warned of the possibility of a full-fledged war. Houthis have also been launching long-range missiles toward Israel, including on Monday.

Iran's official news agency IRNA said Tuesday that Iran relayed an important message to the United States late Monday and that it called for a meeting of the UN Security Council. The message to Washington was delivered through a Swiss envoy in Tehran. Switzerland looks after US interests in Iran.

IRNA said Iran holds the United States, Israel's closest ally, responsible for the strike.


Source: TRT