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Iran Vows Revenge on Israel after Damascus Embassy Attack

Editor

Laila Afifa

3 April 2024 02:00 WIB

Members of Syrian Red Crescent work near the damaged site after what Syrian and Iranian media described as an Israeli air strike on Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus April 1, 2024. Israel has long targeted Iran's military installations in Syria and those of its proxies, but Monday's attack was the first time Israel hit the vast embassy compound itself. REUTERS/Firas Makdesi

TEMPO.CO, Jerusalem - Iran said on Tuesday, April 2, it would take revenge on Israel for an airstrike that killed two of its generals and five other military advisers at the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, heightening the risk of further escalation in conflict in the Middle East.

The strike marked one of the most significant attacks yet on Iranian interests in Syria, where Israel has stepped up a long-running military campaign against Iran and groups its backs as the Gaza war has rippled around the Middle East.

Until now, Iran has avoided directly entering the fray, while backing allies' attacks on Israeli and U.S. targets.

Israel has not declared responsibility for the attack which destroyed a consular building adjacent to the main embassy building in the upscale Mezzeh district on Monday night, killing seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

But a senior Israeli government official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said those hit had "been behind many attacks on Israeli and American assets and had plans for additional attacks".

The embassy "was not a target", the official said.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed revenge. "The Zionist regime will be punished by the hands of our brave men. We will make it regret this crime and others it has committed," he said.

Khamenei's political advisor Ali Shamkhani, in a post on X, said the United States "remains directly responsible whether or not it was aware of the intention to carry out this attack".

According to Axios, citing a U.S. official, Washington told Tehran it "had no involvement" or advanced knowledge of the Israeli strike.

Iranian state media said the death toll was 13 including six Syrians. Two security sources in Lebanon said at least one member of the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah was killed in the strike.

Syrian civil defence teams were still working on Tuesday to clear the rubble as ambulances were parked nearby.

Iran's ambassador to Syria Hossein Akbari, who was not wounded in the strike, has said the flattened building housed his residence. He could be seen exiting the main embassy building on Tuesday with his security guards.

Iran's U.N. mission said the attack was a violation of "the foundational principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises".

Akbari, the ambassador, told Reuters it showed total disrespect for international law and both Iran and Syria had the right to respond.

Wafa Badr, a Mezzeh resident, said she was home in the kitchen when she heard an enormous blast.

"I was knocked unconscious for about 10 minutes – we were so surprised with what happened. Both our cars are destroyed," she said.



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