Israel’s Syria attack will not go unanswered: Iran

Israel’s Syria attack will not go unanswered: Iran

Tehran: Iran and one of its key proxies vowed on Tuesday to respond to a strike widely attributed to Israel that demolished Iran’s consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus and killed eight people, including two Iranian generals.

Iran’s state TV reported on 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 Rais but provided no further details.

“We will make them regretful about the crime and similar acts,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state in Iran.

Israel has repeatedly targeted military officials from Iran, which supports militant groups fighting Israel in Gaza, and along its border with Lebanon.

Monday’s strike in Damascus signalled an escalation because it struck an Iranian diplomatic mission.

The US National Security Council said the United States played no role in the strike in Damascus and did not know of it ahead of time.

Americans directly advised Iran of that, a US official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

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 proxies, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

The airstrike in Syria killed Gen. 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, Gen. Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi, and five other officers. Hezbollah said on Tuesday that Zahedi played a crucial role in helping “develop and advance the work” of the group in Lebanon. A Hezbollah member was also killed in Monday’s strike, bringing the overall death toll to eight.

Hezbollah announced the death of Hussein Youssef on Tuesday, but did not provide further details.

“This crime will certainly not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge,” Hezbollah said in a statement. Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous, after visiting the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, said rescue workers are still searching for bodies under the rubble.

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