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Israeli Airstrike Kills High-Ranking Commander at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Leaving at Least Eight Dead

An Israeli airstrike targeted the Iranian Embassy in Damascus on Monday, resulting in the deaths of at least eight individuals, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a high-ranking commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to reports from the Dubai-based Al-Hadas news channel and confirmation by the SNN Iranian news agency.
The BBC, citing Iranian state television, also reported on the incident.

The attack, which took place in Damascus's Mazzeh district, home to the Iranian embassy and consulate, has not been commented on by the Israeli military, which typically does not respond to foreign media reports.

Mohammad Reza Zahedi was responsible for the Revolutionary Guard's operations in Syria and Lebanon, as reported by the Tasnim Iranian news agency. Zahedi, who led the Guard's ground forces from 2006 to 2008 and was placed on the UN sanctions list in 2007 due to Tehran's nuclear program, represented a significant loss for Iran.

This latest strike escalates the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran's allies, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Experts believe that the assault on the Damascus embassy could further escalate tensions in the Middle East. Iran has already blamed Israel for the attack and has threatened retaliation.

Footage from Fox News showed the extent of the damage at the site, indicating that the targets included the Iranian consulate and a part of the building housing the ambassador's residence.

Despite the violence, neither Ambassador Hossein Akbari nor his family were injured, as reported by the semi-official ISNA Iranian news agency and the Al-Alam Iranian news television. In response to the attack, Ambassador Akbari has promised a stern response from Tehran.

According to the Iranian state television, among the deceased were several diplomats, emphasizing the attack's severe impact on Iran's diplomatic community in Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad condemned the "cowardly Israeli terror attack against innocent people" at Iran's consulate in Damascus, asserting that Israel's aggression will not affect the relationship between Iran and Syria.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held Israel responsible for the attack, denouncing it as a violation of international treaties.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the country's air defenses "neutralized hostile targets" in the vicinity of Damascus on Monday, though it is common for Israel to launch airstrikes on Syrian targets, including military installations and allies of the Damascus government such as Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Israel has intensified its attacks on Syrian targets since the outbreak of the Gaza war, determined to prevent Iran from establishing a stronghold in Syria.
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