Iranian military leader ‘assassinated’ in consulate blast in Syria as Tehran blames Israel for strike that ‘killed five’

Iranian military leader ‘assassinated’ in consulate blast in Syria as Tehran blames Israel for strike that ‘killed five’

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AN Iranian military leader is among five feared dead after a consulate was destroyed in a blast in Syria.

Brig-Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi, of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been named by local media as the senior commander who died in the blast in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Rex

Horror pics showed the consulate building in Damascus, Syria reduced to rubble[/caption]

Reuters

Iranian media said it was an Israeli strike – and five people had been confirmed dead[/caption]

Reuters

One of those killed was Brig-Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi, of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps[/caption]

Reuters

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad walks near a damaged site[/caption]

Four others were reportedly killed in the strike on the consulate, too, and it’s feared more bodies could be found.

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While several diplomats are thought to be among the dead, the ambassador is said to have survived.

Iranian state television reported this was an “assassination attempt”.

Tehran’s ambassador to Damascus has now said that the Iranian response to the strike will be “harsh”. 

Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “With extreme brutality, contrary to all international conventions, they targeted my place of residence and the consular section of the embassy…We will reciprocate when we want.”

Israel has not commented on claims it was responsible for the strike. 

Horror pics of the scene show the Iranian consulate reduced to rubble.

Smoke could be seen billowing into the sky, while crowds gathered on the streets.

Others could be seen scanning the rubble for survivors and bodies, while nearby buildings were damaged in the blast, too.

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Snaps also showed Syria’s foreign minister Faisal Mekdad and the Iranian ambassador in Damascus Hossein Akbari near the blast site, surveying the damage.


Both a Lebanese security source who spoke to Reuters and Iran’s Tasnim news agency claimed it had been an Israeli airstrike. 

SkyNews reported an Israeli military spokesperson said: “We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.”

BBC reported the Syrian defence ministry said Israeli aircraft targeted the consulate building at about 17:00 local time today.

Syrian air defences shot down some of the missiles, but others made it through and “destroyed the entire building, killing and injuring everyone inside”, the ministry added.

The history of Israel and Iran’s relationship

Israel and Iran have had a tense relationship since the latter’s Islamic revolution of 1979.

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Since then, Syria has been one of Iran’s key allies, and when Syrians began protesting the al-Assad government in 2011, there were reports that the Iranian government was assisting the regime to quell the protests.

In mid-2013, Iran sent 4,000 troops in to aid the al-Assad government forces, and from there, it continued to step up its support.

Israel, meanwhile, has remained relatively neutral in the conflict, and has mostly kept a low profile.

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