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Airstrike Claims Lives in Damascus Near Iranian Diplomatic Site

In a deadly event on Monday, an Israeli airstrike targeted the Mazzeh district of western Damascus, near the Iranian Embassy, leaving at least eight dead.
The district, a known locale for the Iranian diplomatic presence, experienced significant devastation, including the complete destruction of a consulate section close to the embassy, reported Dubai-based Al-Hadath news channel.

The strike specifically hit a villa frequented for meetings between Iranian officials and representatives of Libyan and Palestinian organizations. Notably, this vicinity houses villas regularly inhabited by military advisors of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an elite force allied with Damascus.

Among the casualties was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a high-ranking commander of the IRGC, as confirmed by a Lebanese security source to Reuters and further corroborated by SNN, an Iranian news agency. Zahedi, who served as the commandant of the IRGC's ground forces from 2006 to 2008 and was sanctioned by the UN in 2007 due to Tehran's nuclear endeavors, was responsible for the Corps' operations in Syria and Lebanon, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Targets of the attack were the Iranian consulate and the ambassadorial residence located on the ground floor of the same building, though detailed accounts were not provided. Fortunately, the Iranian ambassador, Hoszein Akbari, and his family members were unharmed in the incident, reported ISNA and al-Alam, Iranian media outlets. Responding to the aggression, Ambassador Akbari stated that Tehran would give a strong response.

The Iranian state television announced that among the dead were several diplomats, depicting the attack as an "Israeli terrorist attack against innocent lives" on Iran's consulate in Damascus. Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, visiting the site, condemned the assault as vile, emphasizing that such actions by Israel could not impact the relationship between Iran and Syria.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian attributed the responsibility for the attack to Israel, declaring it a violation of international agreements. Meanwhile, Syria's state news agency SANA reported that its air defense systems had neutralized "hostile targets" around Damascus.

For years, Israel has conducted airstrikes against Syrian targets, including military bases, and forces allied with the Damascus government, like the Hezbollah militia and the IRGC, aiming to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold in Syria, especially around the Golan Heights. Since the outbreak of war in Gaza, Israel has increased its strikes in Syria, underscoring its commitment to countering Iranian influence in the region.
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