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Israeli airstrike on Iran's consulate in Syria kills two generals

Israeli airstrike on Iran's consulate in Syria kills two generals


Israeli airstrike on Iran's consulate in Syria kills two generals

DAMASCUS, Syria — An Israeli airstrike that demolished Iran’s consulate in Syria killed two Iranian generals and five officers, Syrian and Iranian officials said Monday.

The strike appears to signify an escalation of Israel's targeting of Iranian military officials and their allies in Syria, which have intensified since Hamas terrorists — who receive money and weapons from Iran — attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

Clashes have also increased since then between Israel and Hezbollah — another militant group supported by Iran — along Israel's northern border with Lebanon.

Israel, which rarely acknowledges such strikes, said it had no comment on the latest attack in Syria.

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

Charles Lister, director of the Syria program of the Washington-based Middle East Institute think tank, called the strike a “major escalation.” The attack is sure to draw retaliation, he wrote on the social media platform X.

A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, Nasser Kanaani, called on the global community to condemn the strike. Iranian state television said the Iranian ambassador’s residence was inside the consular building, which stood next to the embassy. The main embassy remained intact.

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

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets in government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years.

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 terrorist groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

An Israeli airstrike in a Damascus neighborhood in December killed a longtime adviser of the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard in Syria, Seyed Razi Mousavi. A similar strike on a building in Damascus in January killed at least five Iranian advisers. Last week, airstrikes over the strategic eastern Syrian province of Deir el-Zour near the Iraqi border killed an Iranian adviser.